What Is Divalproex Used For?

Divalproex and Migraines

Migraine headaches are different from other headaches in many ways. Some of the most common migraine symptoms include:
 
  • Headache pain on one side of the head
  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Throbbing headache pain
  • Upset stomach (nausea) and vomiting
  • Unusual vision changes.
     
Some people may have an aura before their migraines occur. An aura can be any unusual sign that a migraine is about to happen, including vision changes, numbness, tingling, or speech changes. The most common type of aura is visual (seeing spots, tunnel vision, or other vision changes). Some people have migraine triggers, which are certain foods, drinks, or situations that seem to lead to a migraine (see Migraine Diet for more information).
 
Due to the way it works, divalproex will not help for migraine treatment. Divalproex is taken on a daily basis for migraine prevention, to reduce the frequency or severity of migraine headaches.
 

How Does Divalproex Work?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that occurs when there are recurring, brief changes in how the brain's electrical system works. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms).
 
Divalproex works by increasing the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a natural brain chemical that stops or slows down other brain signals. Increasing GABA helps prevent the abnormal brain signals that lead to a seizure. It is also thought that divalproex may also prevent seizures by affecting sodium channels in the brain.
 

Divalproex Uses in Children

Divalproex is approved for complex partial seizures in children as young as 10 years old and for migraine prevention in children as young as 16 years old. Although an exact age range is not given, the drug is also approved to treat absence seizures in children. It is not approved to treat mania in children. Talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using divalproex in children.
 
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Divalproex Sodium

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