Can Depakote cause/worsen depression?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by tictoc, Jul 2, 2010.

  1. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi all,
    difficult child has been taking Depakote ER for about 8 weeks and in that time I think his depression has worsened. Before starting Depakote, he was up and down. Sometimes he was very, very up, and then he would have a severe but short down period. Since he started Depakote, he is down nearly all the time. He has brief periods (a couple of hours here and there) of being in a "normal" mood. The hypomanic periods have gone away completely.

    Also, he is nauseas and vomiting two or three times a week on the Depakote. The psychiatrist wants us to start weaning difficult child from the Depakote because of the nausea and then to have him go 10 days or so without any mood stabilizer before we see him again. psychiatrist says he wants to get a "baseline" for difficult child without any mood stabilizer before we decide where to go next.

    Anyway, I hope the Depakote has been the cause of the worsening depression. Have any of you had this experience?

  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    Depakote is very good for mania and with the mania being surpressed, his downs might become more constant. Tigger was on Depakote for over 5 years. He has been of it for about 6 months. He is a much happier child since we weaned him.

    There are other mood stabilizers that provide a more balanced state.

    With the list of diagnosis that your son has, have you ever had him evaluated for Autism? Tigger could have qualified (and did) for all of those except Tourette's over the years and it wasn't until we got a formal diagnosis of Autism last year and got all of the professionals going in that direction for treatment that we saw huge improvements.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Yes, that happened with my difficult child 2, though his depression was milder. Sometimes you need two mood stabilizers, or a mood stabilizer and an atypical anti-psychotic to address all the symptoms.

    Did the psychiatrist not have a baseline already before starting the Depakote? Or was difficult child on something before this trial?
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My daughter loathed Depakote. all she did was sleep. She threw it out and never took medications again.
  5. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Thanks for your responses.

    JJJ: Yes, we have had difficult child evaluated for Autism, but the neuropsychologist felt he didn't quite meet the diagnositc criteria for and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). However, both the psychiatrist and neuropsychologist feel that difficult child comes very close. difficult child receives sp ed services (social skills therapy, Occupational Therapist (OT), adaptive PE, aide) through his school's autism inclusion program and he currently is attending summer school through that program.

    gvcmom: Before difficult child started Depakote, he was taking Trileptal. Before Trileptal, he wasn't taking a mood stabilizer. We started Trileptal when we started seeing clear hypomanic periods. Trileptal was wonderful for about 10 weeks. difficult child was in a "normal" mood for over two months and it was amazing. Then we started seeing hypomania gain, so psychiatrist switched him to Depakote. The nearly constant depressed state started once he was on Depakote. I suspect psychiatrist wants to see if the depression lasts without the Depakote, or if he swings again towards hypomania.

    So, I'm leaning towards thinking Depakote is making him more depressed, as well as nausea.

  6. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    Depakote treats from above (mania) better than it treats from below (depression). Sometimes it pushes mania so far down than it depresses. That happened to both my son and older daughter. They became very depressed and irritable on high doses of Depakote so we switched them to Lamictal, which they've had much more succes with.

    How high did your son go on Trileptal? Sometimes the dose needs to be quite high to adequately serve as a mood stabilizer.
  7. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    difficult child got to 1200 mg on Trileptal.
  8. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    According to The Bipolar Child, some children require Trileptal doses as high as 1500 to 2400 mg.
  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hi Tictoc, I'm thinking that age 7 is way too young to definitively say that your son is not Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)/Asperger's. I would be very concerned about the Depakote.
    I know that it will be very hard to go with-o medications for awhile ... can you still do the clonidine and imiprimine while you're going with-o the Depakote? That should help a bit.
    I am so sorry he's feeling down. Poor guy. Poof mom!
  10. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    I agree with Terry. Would you believe that my son at age 17 just got a Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) diagnosis at his Residential Treatment Center (RTC) and through testing by a very astute neuropsychologist? This is after YEARS of flying under the radar because mood issues were clouding the diagnostic picture.
  11. ML

    ML Guest

    I agree with Terry. Your son in many ways sounds just like manster who for a few years I thought might be BiPolar (BP). He has everything yours does (reading your signature) and was initially evaluated at the Children's hospital and told he didn't have it when he was 7/8. Regardless, I hope you can get your little man feeling better soon. Big hugs xo ML