Compare Depakote vs. desipramine

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Depacon
(valproate, valproic acid, or divalproex)

Norpramin
(desipramine)

Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is good long-term prevention for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines, but can cause weight gain.Stabilizes your mood. Norpramin (desipramine) is not a first choice for treating depression because of its effects on the heart, but it can be good if other medicines haven't worked.
Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.44Depakote
Reviews for Depakote
46%
of people (All ages) say Depakote is worth it
40%
say it works well
27%
say it's a big hassle
Have you used Depacon (valproate, valproic acid, or divalproex)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it

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Have you used Norpramin (desipramine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
Depakotedesipramine
  • Nausea 7%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Dizziness 8%
  • Vomiting 9%
  • Accidental injury 6%
  • Muscle weakness 3%
  • Abdominal pain 1%
  • Indigestion 1%
  • Any side effect 4%
  • Rash 3%
More Depakote side effects »

The desipramine FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about desipramine side effects »
How it works
Depakotedesipramine
Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to increase the amount of GABA, a chemical that calms nerves in the brain.Norpramin (desipramine) is a tricyclic antidepressant. It increases the amount of norepinephrine and serotonin in the brain, two chemicals that regulate mood.
Type of medication
Depakotedesipramine
Prescription onlyPrescription only
Available as
Depakotedesipramine
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Sprinkle
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Used for
Depakotedesipramine
Risk factors for serious side effects
Depakotedesipramine
  • Children under age 2
  • History of metabolic disorders
  • History of depression
  • People also taking Topamax
Detailed Depacon (valproate, valproic acid, or divalproex) risks & warnings »
  • People under age 24
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Fentanyl
  • Tramadol
  • Buspirone
Detailed Norpramin (desipramine) risks & warnings »
Pregnancy

Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

The FDA hasn’t classified this medicine’s effects on unborn babies. Talk with your doctor about this medicine if you’re pregnant or planning on it.

Food
Depakotedesipramine
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
No food related info.
Kidneys and liver
Depakotedesipramine
  • Can cause liver damage, so it's probably not safe if you already have liver problems.
No kidneys and liver related info.
Weight
Depakotedesipramine
  • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
  • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
No weight related info.
Upsides and benefits
Depakotedesipramine
  • Lowers the frequency of seizures, especially for people with absence, tonic-clonic, and complex partial seizures.
  • One of the first-line options to stabilize mood for people with bipolar disorder.
  • Helpful in preventing frequent migraine headaches.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) is available in generic and in many different strengths, so the dose can be more customized.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) has fewer side effects than similar tricyclic antidepressants.
Downsides and risks
Depakotedesipramine
  • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
  • Can cause liver damage, so it's probably not safe if you already have liver problems.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't recommended if you or your family has heart disease, seizures, or glaucoma.
  • Norpramin (desipramine) isn't a first choice for depression because it has more side effects than other antidepressants.
  • In some people, Norpramin (desipramine) can make you sleepy. In other people, Norpramin (desipramine) can keep you awake.
  • If you have diabetes, Norpramin (desipramine) can make your blood sugar go up.
  • Not recommended in children under 12 years of age.
Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
Depakotedesipramine
  • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
  • Don't use if pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests.
  • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
  • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
  • Different versions of Depakote have different dosing. Be careful.
  • Report confusion, persistent abdominal pain, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising to your doctor.
  • Takes 3 to 4 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
  • Don't drive or do anything requiring concentration until you know how Norpramin (desipramine) affects you since it can make you feel sleepy.
  • Talk to your doctor right away if your mood suddenly darkens and you want to hurt yourself while taking Norpramin (desipramine).
  • If you're being switched to Norpramin (desipramine) from monoamine oxidase inhibitors, you'll need to wait 2 weeks before you can start it.
  • Don't stop taking Norpramin (desipramine) suddenly without talking to your doctor first.
Learn more
More about DepakoteSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Depacon (valproate, valproic acid, or divalproex)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
More about desipramineSide effectsAlternativesFDA package insert
Have you used Norpramin (desipramine)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it