WebMD reports that Depakote is used to treat seizure disorders and the manic phase of bipolar disorder as well as to prevent migraine headaches. Depakote works by helping to maintain the correct balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
According to MedicineNet, the active ingredient in Depakote is valproic acid. As of October 2014, the exact manner in which valproic acid works on the brain is unknown. It is thought that valproic acid causes an increase in the concentration of gamma-amniobutyric acid in the brain. Gamma-amniobutyric acid helps the nerves in the brain communicate with one another. Depakote is available orally in the form of tablets, capsules and syrup and is also available as an injection.
Depakote may also be used to prevent migraines and to treat manic episodes linked to bipolar disorder. A pregnant woman should not use Depakote to prevent migraine headaches. People with liver disease, genetic disorders or urea cycle disorder should also not use the drug. Children who are aged 2 years or less should be given the medicine carefully as directed by a doctor. Depakote can cause severe liver disease in children less than 2 years old.