The prescription medication divalproex sodium extended release or ER is useful for people who are prone to migraine headaches, or who have epilepsy or bipolar disorder. Best known under the brand name Depakote, divalproex sodium. That works by increasing levels of the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA in the brain. While GABA occurs naturally in the body synthetic GABA supplements also are available. Consult a qualified health care provider before combining divalproex sodium ER and GABA supplements.
Divalproex sodium ER is an extended-release version of divalproex sodium. Patients typically take the extended-release version once per day. The medication improves manic and mixed episodes of bipolar disorder reduces. the frequency of seizures in epilepsy and prevents migraines from occurring. It does not stop a migraine once it starts, however.
The amino acid GABA is a neurotransmitter that has calming effects in the brain. Increasing GABA levels by taking medications such as divalproex sodium ER prevents abnormal activity in the brain. That causes seizures, manic episodes of bipolar disorder and migraines. Supplement manufacturers market the amino acid GABA as a natural tranquilizer. But no strong evidence indicates that these over-the-counter supplements actually work for any health condition, according to eMedTV. The common belief among scientists is that taking GABA orally does not result in it reaching the brain, according to Denver Naturopathic Clinic.
GABA supplements do not seem to interact with any drugs. But research is scant, notes eMedTV. Drugs.com does not list any interaction between divalproex sodium ER and GABA. Divalproex sodium ER does interact with numerous other substances. So talk with your health care provider before combining this medication with any other drugs or nutritional or herbal supplements. Some substances that interact with divalproex sodium ER include cold medicines, pain relievers, antacids, allergy medications, calcium, birth control pills, other epilepsy medications and sedatives. An interaction may involve reduced beneficial effects or increased side effects of one or both substances.
If GABA supplements work as claimed, taking them along with divalproex sodium ER should increase GABA levels beyond that which the medication accomplishes. This would be considered complementary medicine, in which combining a nutritional supplement or herbal remedy with a medication is more beneficial than using one or the other alone. While GABA supplements might not actually increase levels of the neurotransmitter, the supplements are not associated with any side effects and generally are considered safe. Ask your health care provider first.