Compare Lithium vs. Depakote

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

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Lithobid (Lithium)

Prescription only

Depakote (divalproex)

Prescription only
Stabilizes mood.

Lithobid (Lithium) is the most effective long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, but it comes with a lot of side effects, so it can be difficult to take.

Treats and prevents seizures, and stabilizes mood.

Depakote (divalproex) is good for long-term prevention of seizures, manic episodes in bipolar disorder, and migraines.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 97 reviewsforDepakote
Upsides
  • A first-line, long-term treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective at stabilizing mood and preventing relapse.
  • For manic episodes (acute mania), more effective when taken together with an antipsychotic medicine.
  • The only drug proven (so far) to lower the risk of suicide, possibly because it lowers aggressiveness and impulsivity.
  • Lowers the frequency of seizures, especially for people with absence seizures or complex partial seizures.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is a first-line treatment to stabilize mood for people with bipolar disorder.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is helpful for preventing frequent migraines.
  • The sprinkle pill can be swallowed whole or can be opened up and mixed with applesauce if you have a hard time swallowing.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is available as a generic.
Downsides
  • Has many short- and long-term side effects.
  • The dose for it to work well is very close to the amount that causes overdose, so you have to be careful, watch out for symptoms, and get help immediately if you accidentally take too much.
  • Probably not safe if you have kidney problems.
  • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • It can take 3 to 4 weeks before you feel the full effects of Depakote (divalproex).
  • Depakote (divalproex) is not a good medication for people with liver problems.
  • Requires regular blood tests to see how the medication is affecting your body.
  • Depakote (divalproex) can make you bleed more easily.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Oral solution
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Delayed release pill
Price
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Reviews
Not enough review data.Leave a review
97 reviews so far
46%
saidit'sworth it
40%
saiditworked well
27%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Lithobid (Lithium) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
9possible side effects
  • Nausea
    22%
  • Sleepiness
    19%
  • Dizziness
    12%
  • Vomiting
    12%
  • Accidental injury
    11%
  • Feeling weak
    10%
  • Abdominal pain
    9%
  • Upset stomach
    9%
  • Rash
    6%
See more detailed side effects
Risks and risk factors
  • Overdose
    • Low sodium
    • Dehydration
    • Drug interactions (diuretics, ACE inhibitors, NSAIDs like ibuprofen)
  • Pregnancy
  • Driving impairment
    • Alcohol
    • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Reduced kidney function
    • Long-term use
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Harm to fetus
  • Liver damage
    • Children under age 2
    • History of metabolic disorders
    • Severe seizure disorder
    • Brain disease
    • History of liver problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Increased bleeding
  • Mental changes
    • History of metabolic disorders
    • People also taking Topamax
See more detailed risks and warnings