Divalproex and Blood Tests: What to Expect

May, 11 2023

Understanding Divalproex and Its Usage

Divalproex, also known as divalproex sodium or valproate semisodium, is a medication primarily used to treat various types of seizure disorders, such as epilepsy. It works by restoring the balance of certain natural substances in the brain. It is also used to treat manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder and to prevent migraine headaches. As with any medication, it is crucial to understand the potential side effects and necessary monitoring that may be required during treatment. In this article, we will discuss the importance of blood tests while taking divalproex and what to expect during the process.

Why Blood Tests Are Necessary When Taking Divalproex

When you are prescribed divalproex, your doctor will likely recommend regular blood tests to monitor the levels of the medication in your blood, as well as to check for any potential side effects on your liver, kidneys, and blood cells. These tests are essential for ensuring the proper functioning of your body while taking the medication and to adjust the dosage if needed. Blood tests can also help your doctor determine if the medication is working effectively in controlling your seizures or other symptoms, and whether any adjustments to your treatment plan are necessary.

Frequency of Blood Tests During Divalproex Treatment

The frequency of blood tests required during divalproex treatment will vary depending on your individual circumstances, such as the severity of your condition, your overall health, and how well your body responds to the medication. In general, blood tests are usually conducted before starting the treatment, within the first few weeks of treatment, and then periodically throughout the course of the treatment. Your doctor will determine the specific schedule for your blood tests based on your individual needs and will adjust the frequency as needed.

Preparing for a Blood Test While on Divalproex

Before your blood test, it is essential to follow any specific instructions provided by your doctor or the laboratory where the test will be conducted. This may include fasting for a certain period of time before the test, as well as avoiding certain medications, supplements, or foods. Be sure to inform your healthcare team about any other medications or supplements you are taking, as these may affect the results of your blood test. Additionally, ensure that you are well-hydrated before the test, as this can make it easier for the technician to draw blood.

What to Expect During the Blood Test

A blood test for divalproex monitoring typically involves a simple venipuncture, during which a small amount of blood is drawn from a vein in your arm. The procedure is relatively quick and usually only causes mild discomfort. The blood sample is then sent to a laboratory for analysis, and your healthcare team will receive the results within a few days.

Understanding Your Blood Test Results

Once your blood test results are available, your doctor will review them to determine if any adjustments to your divalproex dosage or treatment plan are necessary. Factors that may be considered include the concentration of divalproex in your blood, as well as any changes in your liver or kidney function, blood cell counts, or other relevant blood markers. It is essential to discuss your test results and any concerns you may have with your doctor, who can provide further guidance and recommendations.

Managing Side Effects and Monitoring Your Health

While taking divalproex, it is crucial to be aware of potential side effects and to report any concerns to your healthcare team promptly. Some common side effects of divalproex include dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. More severe side effects, such as signs of liver problems, kidney issues, or changes in blood cell counts, may require immediate medical attention. By staying vigilant about your health and attending regular blood tests, you can ensure that your treatment with divalproex is as safe and effective as possible.


Regular blood tests are an essential part of divalproex treatment, as they can help monitor the medication's levels in your blood, detect potential side effects, and ensure that your treatment is optimized for your specific needs. By understanding the importance of blood tests, adequately preparing for them, and discussing your results with your healthcare team, you can take an active role in managing your health while taking divalproex.