Master Valproic Acid (Depakote) with Picmonic for Nursing RN

With Picmonic, facts become pictures. We've taken what the science shows - image mnemonics work - but we've boosted the effectiveness by building and associating memorable characters, interesting audio stories, and built-in quizzing.

Valproic Acid (Depakote)

Vault-pro Acidic-lemon
Picmonic
Valproic acid (Depakote), or valproate, is an anticonvulsant that potentiates the effects of GABA and inhibits sodium channel activity. This inhibition lessens neuronal excitability and decreases seizure activity. Valproic acid is indicated for the majority of seizure types, bipolar disorder, and migraine prophylaxis. Side effects may include GI distress, weight gain, blood dyscrasias, tremors, and rash. Inform the patient to monitor for symptoms of potentially-fatal hepatotoxicity and pancreatitis. Because it is very teratogenic, it is contraindicated in pregnancy.
10 KEY FACTS
MECHANISM
Blocks Na+ Channels
Block-guy blocking Salt-shaker Channel

Valproic acid binds to sodium channels and prolongs inactivation of neuronal activity. This inhibition decreases the number of seizures associated with high frequency of neuronal discharge.

Increases GABA Concentration
Up-arrow GABA-goose

Valproic acid increases the effect of GABA in the brain. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA decreases neuronal excitability and lessens seizure activity.

INDICATIONS
Tonic-clonic Seizures
Tonic-clown Caesar

Valproic acid decreases seizure activity by prolonging the inactivated state of sodium channels. This medication is considered a first-line drug for tonic-clonic seizures (See Picmonic for Types of Seizure).

Bipolar Disorder
Bi-polar-bear

Patients diagnosed with bipolar disorder experience alternating episodes of mania and depression. Administering valproic acid may stabilize the mood in bipolar patients by relieving symptoms during manic and depressive episodes. Long-term drug therapy may prevent future episodes.

Migraine Prophylaxis
Mind-rain with Purple-axes

Migraines may be caused by excessive levels of GABA. By potentiating the inhibitory effects of GABA, valproic acid is used for migraine prophylaxis.

SIDE EFFECTS
Hepatotoxicity
Liver with Toxic-green-glow

Valproic acid may cause hepatotoxicity and liver failure. Do not administer this medication to children under 2 years old or to patients with a history of liver dysfunction. The patient's liver function should be assessed periodically after initiating therapy. Instruct the patient to contact their physician if experiencing symptoms such as anorexia, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, or jaundice.

Blood Dyscrasias
Blood-cell Disc-razor

Valproic acid may cause blood dyscrasias such as anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. Assess the patient's RBC, WBC, and platelet counts before and periodically after therapy. A decreased number of platelets may cause prolong bleeding time. Minimize these effects by administering the lowest effective dosage of valproic acid.

GI Distress
GI with Flare-gun

Since valproic acid is absorbed in the GI tract, GI distress is a common side effect of valproic acid. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion may be prevented by administering an enteric-coated form of valproic acid with food. Since weight gain is a common side effect, advise the patient to exercise and consume a reduced-calorie diet.

Tremor
Trimmer

This drug may cause tremors during its peak effect. Anxiety or stimulants may worsen tremors. Patients who develop a rash may be allergic to this drug and should contact their physician immediately.

Pancreatitis
Pancreas-on-fire

Valproic acid may cause pancreatitis that can result in hemorrhage and death. Instruct the patient to contact their healthcare provider, if experiencing symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or anorexia (Refer to the Picmonic of Acute Pancreatitis Assessment). The medication should be discontinued and substituted with an alternative drug.

Unlock all 10 facts & definitions with Picmonic Free!

JOIN FREE

Take the Valproic Acid (Depakote) Quiz

Picmonic's rapid review multiple-choice quiz allows you to assess your knowledge.

START QUIZ NOW

It's worth every penny

Our Story Mnemonics Increase Mastery and Retention

Memorize facts with phonetic mnemonics

Unforgettable characters with concise but impactful videos (2-4 min each)

Ace Your Nursing (RN) Classes & Exams with Picmonic:

Over 860,000 students use Picmonic’s picture mnemonics to improve knowledge, retention, and exam performance.

Choose the #1 Nursing (RN) student study app.

Picmonic for Nursing (RN) covers information that is relevant to your entire Nursing (RN) education. Whether you’re studying for your classes or getting ready to conquer your NCLEX®-RN, Hesi, ATI, TEAS test, Kaplan exams, we’re here to help.

Works better than traditional Nursing (RN) flashcards.

Research shows that students who use Picmonic see a 331% improvement in memory retention and a 50% improvement in test scores.