Depacon (sodium valproate) is an injectable anticonvulsant medication marketed by AbbVie. It may be used to manage seizures in children with Dravet syndrome.

How Depacon works

Dravet syndrome is an inherited epileptic disorder characterized by seizures starting in the child’s first year of life. In most cases, it is caused by a mutation in the SCN1A gene.

It is not certain how the mutations lead to seizures, but one theory is that they prevent GABA neurons from working correctly in the brain.

GABA neurons are a type of nerve cell that acts to inhibit other neurons from being stimulated. These impaired neurons, caused by a mutation in the SCN1A gene, are thought to lead to uncontrolled stimulation of nerve cells in the brain, ultimately leading to the nervous system being overactivated and triggering a seizure.

GABA neurons send inhibitory signals through a chemical messenger or neurotransmitter called GABA.

The exact mode of action of Depacon is unknown, but it is thought to increase the levels of GABA, the neurotransmitter or chemical messenger that GABA neurons use to send signals, and enhance its action in the brain. This should help return the excitation and inhibition balance in neurons and reduce the chance of a seizure developing.

Depacon in clinical trials

Depacon has not been tested in controlled clinical trials for Dravet syndrome, but it has been investigated as an epilepsy treatment. Several clinical trials have also investigated its safety and effectiveness in children.

For example, the safety of rapidly infused Depacon was investigated in 18 children, ages 1 to 16, with epilepsy. The study’s results, published in the medical journal Pediatric Neurology, reported that the treatment was safe with no serious adverse events reported.

A systematic review of data where injectable valproate was used as an epileptic therapy was published in the journal CNS Drugs. The review analyzed 30 studies that have been published through 2012, covering 860 patients.

It concluded that injectable valproate is safe and effective as a treatment for epilepsy and may show a better response in children compared to adults.

Other information

Common side effects associated with Depacon include infections, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, flu-like symptoms, hair loss, low platelet count, drowsiness, tremors, weakness, and anorexia.

Depacon is associated with an increased risk of liver damage in children younger than 2.

Depacon is chemically very similar to Depakene (valproic acid) and Depakote (divalproex sodium), and may collectively be referred to as valproate. In the U.K., intravenous sodium valproate is marketed by Sanofi under the brand Epilim.

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