Depakote severely heightens cancer risk

by | May 21, 2013

Depakote is an anticonvulsant psychiatric drug that significantly increases one’s chances of getting certain types of cancer. It’s used as a sedative for manic highs, hyperactivity, migraines and epileptic seizures.
Among other serious side effects, taking Depakote will produce a vitamin D deficiency in the body.  This medication makes the liver remove more of vitamin D than is necessary from the system. Vitamin D is important for bone strength because it helps create calcium from one’s food intake. Too little vitamin D may cause brittle bones, or bone weakening, and skeletal deformities. also states:
“Low blood levels of the vitamin have been associated with the following:

  • Increased risk of death from cardiovascular      disease
  • Cognitive impairment in older adults
  • Severe asthma in children
  • Cancer.”

Cancer. In addition to contributing to a strong and sturdy bone structure, vitamin D actively regulates cell growth and differentiates these cells. New studies show it even goes so far as to kill cancerous cells. Better yet, vitamin D goes beyond just pre-emptive cancer measures. Cancerous tumors require new blood vessels to supply nutrients for tumor growth, but the vitamin inhibits these tiny young blood vessels from forming.
So what can happen when Depakote creates a vitamin D deficiency? says:
“Clinical studies now show vitamin D deficiency to be associated with four of the most common cancers: Breast, Prostate, Colon and Skin.”


  1. Carrie

    I have been on this medication for 19 years. It is fantastic for migraines prevention. It is good so far at stopping mania but can take nothing for depression. Have had breast scan and ovarian scans no issues.No issue with blood counts except vitamin d very very low risk of osteomalacia( like rickets,) No one supplemented , no one helps you for the hair loss, weight gain and exhaustion, loss of memory and loss of motivation generally. Hope I do not get cancer but bipolar is a killer too people need to remember that.

  2. Brian P. Logue

    DEPAKOTE was killing me. I’m a 59 year old male and have been on Depakote for Bipolar 1 disorder for approx. 3 years until about 3 weeks ago. I was dual diagnosed for alcohol & drug dependency and bipolar. I had severe manic episodes throughout my life and was hospitalized twice. Prescribed 1,500 mg daily March 2020. I experienced the following since:

    1. Substantial Hair Loss
    2. Major Depression
    3. Weight Gain: 180 lbs. to 215 lbs.
    5. Sexual Dysfunction
    6. Isolation / Social Avoidance
    7. Skin Blemishes Entire Torso
    8. Emotional Blunting
    9. Severe Vitamin D. Deficiency
    10. Sleeping Around the Clock

    I believe this drug swung me gradually into deep dark depression unlike anything experienced prior to Depakote. My zest for life disappeared. No smiles, no laughter, no joy, no excitement. My body and mind aged rapidly. I stopped taking care of myself. I felt like a zombie.

    I reported this to psychiatrist numerous times. She refused to consider taking me off Depakote despite my requests to do so. Why take a risk was the attitude. In her eyes it was keeping me safe from mania. I get it but I decided to no longer see her and I stopped Depakote 3 weeks ago. I know about tapering but I needed to feel my feelings again and fast. I was spiraling downward and I just wanted to see if I could manage and tame my bipolar condition naturally (Prayer, Meditation, Continued Drug & Alcohol Avoidance, Vitamins, Amino, Vitamin D., Exercise, Sleep Hygiene & Keto Lifestyle). Results so far:

    1. DEPRESSION has subsided giving way to heightened mood and energy. I’m taking positive actions and doing things now I could not do before. I believe I’m slightly manic. I need to address that.

    2. SEXUAL – Depakote felt like a chemical castration. Sex drive and function returned about a week after I stopped.

    3. SLEEP is poor averaging 12 hours every other day. I am researching solutions like Melatonin and Vitamin K2. Area to improve.

    4. WEIGHT has dropped by 15 lbs. to 199.8 as of today. Averaging -5 lbs. a week. Body is in ketosis. Fat burning from just walking. No weight training yet. Goal is 180.

    5. PERSONALITY has returned. I’m happy. I’m getting out more and enjoying other people. I feel blessed.

    Please don’t go off Depakote suddenly like I did though. It is reported to be dangerous particularly for those with epilepsy. I was desperate for change so I did it. I’m toughing it out.

    I’m now seeking a new phyciatrist, one who will listen and work with me on my plan which will hopefully not include psych meds ever again. I have my primary doctor in my corner. Need dermatologist, colon, liver and pancreas cancer checks. I need to know. Family has no cancer history.

    I wish you all happiness and good health. Happy holidays to all. Good night.

  3. Jerry mccullough

    I’ve been on depakote for over 20 years for bipolar disorder. I noticed increased hair loss which does not run in my family. In 2019 I was diagnosed with colon cancer and bile duct cancer. I wonder how this could be so when cancer does not run in my immediate family. I knew decoat could cause liver damage but never knew how and in what way. I just recently discovered that depakote can also cause colon cancer. It’s effects on the liver causes vitamin D deficiency which is essential in controlling and regulating cell growth. I’m convinced this drug has killed me.

    • Rick Cogsy

      I’m so sorry friend, you can’t still supplement with high levels of vitamin d,

      Here check this out also: many things you can to regrow new blood cells and improve your immunes systems function against cancer.

      Chlorophyll extract, buy on amazon, promotes new blood cell growth, and a huge anti oxidants boost.

      Reishi mushroons improves the intelligence of your immune system to combat foreign pathogens at the same time the strength of it.

  4. Neena

    I have been OFF Depakote for about 3 and a half years. I was ON it for about 17 years for a misdiagnosis of bipolar disorder at about 1,000 mg. It never helped much with my anxiety, and I believe the revolving door of shrinks, counselors and primary care providers liked me on it because it clearly controlled my anger, which was due to some trauma, ADHD and a personality disorder. It also left me sedated, confused, overweight and with a markedly diminished libido. Once you are ON a psych med, no new providers want to take you off of it if it’s ineffective, they just want to add MORE drugs on top of it. Getting off of it was hard, I did it in about 2 or 3 months under the supervision of an understanding psychiatrist. I’m finally getting to sort out my issues, now that I’m in my mid 50’s. I wish I got off of it sooner, is all I can say. I have COPD, osteopenia and had a small Melanoma in-situ on my leg in 2016. I can’t really say that any of these issues are due to the Depakote. What I can say, is that it did nothing to help motivate me to actually work on any of my psychiatric issues, all it did was sedate me into a fog of malaise and had me sleeping most of my 30’s and 40’s away. I blame myself at this point for continuing to follow my providers directions and staying on the drug, but I need to find NON-pharmaceutical ways to let go of the anger I have at the providers who kept me on it and never helped me.

    • Ksahn1

      Right on point. As I was informed, “no two are the same…sooo…we have to test..try different things, ways”

      Lab rat#XxxxX 20yrs. +

      Except a new dr. Did say… looking at my chart..

      Did they tell these Drugs WILL KILL YOU?

    • jg5598

      See, medications aren’t made to make us better. You see on the bottle where it has the potential side effects? It’s because the pharmaceuticals create these synthetic drugs to cause even more issues so you have to go in and be medicated for that. It’s nothing but a snowball effect. I’ve known 6 people who have worked in the pharmaceutical industry and as soon as they got an inside look on all the medication and everything, they won’t even touch Advil! I’m a huge believer in natural treatments and medications. For me, I have a never ending list of health ailments. I’ve been on over 300 different types of medications, all of which made me worse (I’m only 22 by the way). If I could, I would go back to THC. It’s helped with every issue I’ve had but unfortunately I’m not in a situation where I can make that decision for myself at the moment so I am being forced on all of these medications that I absolutely want to stay away from.

    • Vickie Penton

      I’m 56yrs & I’ve been on Depakote since 2013-14. I have a meningioma & was diagnosed a few years later with epelphepsy. I was put on 3 different seizure meds, then my good doctor moved away. I had my seizures under control (only having 2 different kinds). Then I got a different neurologist that immediately changed my meds around & upped them, then changed 1 to Depakote 1500mg daily. I started losing my hair, feeling tired, gaining weight quickly, & my vision started going. So when I found a new neurologist closer, she mentioned she why I was on such a high dose. I wanted to lose weight. So, we changed my meds to Keppra, Topamax & started weaning off the Depakote. I started to feel better. I was put in the hospital for 4 days where the neurologist there upped my dose of Depakote again. When I was released, I noticed I was a totally different person. I cried for 4 days not knowing why, I was losing my hair again, I couldn’t eat or drink anything, I couldn’t remember, I would lose days, my life passed by while I laid in my bed.
      I had a mammogram this passed September, & the lump that I had turned into 8, i was shocked to find out that it wasn’t cancer, thank God, but it was some kind of deposits caused by Depakote!
      I called my neurologist immediately & we started from day one. She wasn’t the one that prescribed. So, then she did a whole blood panel on me. Then I heard the worst news ever…
      My brain was shrinking, I was losing my memory, I had kidney disease, liver damage, liver disease, fatty liver, & pancreas problems. I was bleeding vaginally & I had a hysterectomy a few years before.
      Eventhough, everything made perfect sense because we now had an answer, I was so angry because…
      I WAS NEVER INFORMED ABOUT ANY OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OR RISKS OF TAKING DEPAKOTE BY ANYONE! I mean, no pamphlets, nobody asked me if I needed a consult at the pharmacy…nothing!
      My sister, my only sibling is dying of cancer & there’s a possibility she may out live me! I may not get to see my son graduate, my daughters get married, my grandchildren grow up. They should have taken Depakote off of the shelves a long time ago!
      Good luck to everybody…

  5. Roberta Easter

    The shaking of arms and hands, loss of balance, walking hunched over, no arm movement when walking, etc. small handwriting are all signs of Alzheimer’s.But according to my Dr. IT’S NOT THE REAL ALZHHEIMERS! So I’m trying to wean myself off with docs permission of course and after just 3 days I feel 100 times better.Got my energy back I’ve been busy all day and not even tired.Not hungry as often. I’M GOING TO TRY TO GET OFF ALL MIND ALTERING DRUGS.All your life people tell you not to take DRUGS.But the worst drugs are the ones prescribed by doctors!They just want their reimbursement from drug companies.Please try to live without these harsh debilitating drugs.God Bless everyone who’s taking these mind ALTERING DRUGS and good luck.

    • Vickie Penton

      Amen! Very well said 👏

  6. Jenny Schiltz

    My mom has been on Depakote for over twenty years. She has been diagnosed with severe drug toxicity and acute myeloid leukemia, and is not expected to live more than a few weeks. I know the drug toxicity is tied to the Depakote and I believe the long-term use caused her to develop the leukemia. I will be pursuing legal action if I determine if it is reasonable to do so. Right now, it doesn’t do me any good because it won’t save her life. 🙁

    • Chris

      I am so sorry about your mother. I was just prescribed this drug for presumed bipolar. After reading your comment and others, I think I am going to take a pass and find other ways to deal. Thank you.

    • Nicole Reyes

      my husband just was diagnosed with CML and he was on deprakote for only a year and a half. I plan to seek legal action as well, did you go through with seeking legal action?

  7. Liz

    depakote has been a Godsend to me and I am so happy to be on it. Mine is for seizures. Nothing else worked or I was allergic to what was prescribed. No concerns of cancers, my labs are always great for everything else and I’m fortunate to have found this. The generic doesn’t control the seizures. I am very happy with it. I’m sorry to hear there
    Are unsuccessful cases.

    • Susan

      My 19 year old takes 9 capsules daily fir seizures . It is a Godsend for him! He’s been on it since 2013 without problems!

    • Vicnent Edwardo

      Get your Vitamin D checked often

    • Jerry

      My 43 year old son just passed away from Sarcoma cancer. He has been on Depakote for 20 years. Nobody told him to take a Vitamin D supplement. D is what depakote de pleats from the body. The Depakote stopped the seizures for 20 years which Dilantin couldn’t. He had cancer everywhere at death. A Godsed for a while but a Gods calling later. Be careful! We thought he was going to live a wonderful long life now he left 3 children, a wife and one heartbroken Dad. Soooo sad!!!!!

    • Anthony

      Nice tell me more

    • Anthony

      Tell me more

  8. Mara Rogers

    1000 mg day divalproex sodium caused two thirds of my long hair to shed rapidly, gained 25 lbs over a few months, chronic diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, very shaky hands, loss of coordination when walking, and lethargy. Shrink gradually lowered it to 500 mg day. I told her I didn’t want to continue taking this drug for life prescribed off-label for bipolar maintenance. She only started to lower it when I said it isn’t even Health Canada or FDA-approved for bipolar maintenance, just for mania or mixed episodes. She says I have to keep taking the 500 mg for life. It causes too much worry re: fatal liver disease, fatal pancreatitis, blood disorders, etc. I am a 60 plus female. At 500 mg divalproex my hair is just falling out at a regular rate and the other side effects have subsided. Now there’s just finger tremors instead of shaking hands. She prescribed propranolol for the shaky hands, but I said I wasn’t going to take a band aid drug to cover it up! I have been taking this drug for one year.

  9. Sybil

    OMG I started taking this medication 3 months ago stopped taking it after a month because it was not helping my depression plus I had a funny feeling about it for some reason. Well after the second month I found a lump in my right breast, today found out it’s cancer after having a biopsy done last week. I am totally confused afraid and upset that I even took this medication and will investigate to see what my legal rights are. Please stay away from this drug! Xo, Belle

  10. Sherry Bellefontaine

    I have severe migraines and have tried so many drugs my neurologist sent me to a Dr for Botox injections but my insurance says i need to try Depakote i already have Pancreatic Cancer and Dr’s doesn’t want me to take anything with Tylenol in it because it causes liver damage. So I promptly got on the Internet and researched it. NO WAY WILL I TAKE IT especially after reading side effects which two are liver cancer and pancreatic cancer. I mean REALLY?? This was a pharmacist that reviewed my case. All i can say is whoever this pharmacist is needs to find a new line of work..

  11. Sherilyn Stewart

    My now 15 daughter took depakote for 7 years and now has acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She is one of 3 in our area. Anyone else?

    • Nicole Reyes

      My husband just got this I’m really thinking about doing a class action. This is insane that they give people drugs like this that basically cause you a deal sentence. We haven’t gotten a complete Diagnosis yet but I know he has CML just not sure what stage, I’m hoping for the best.

  12. Kathy A Locklear

    Please let me know if anyone is suing the manufacturer of Depakote. My son was on it for 18 yrs to control seizures and now has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer!! He is only 31 yrs old!! I would like to file a case against them but want to know if anyone else has before us??

    • CCHR

      I am very sorry to hear what happened to you son. There are attorney firms filing class action lawsuits and you can find them by simply searching. I don’t know where you live but if you live in a state other than Florida you can try reaching out to our international headquarters in Los Angeles at (323) 467-4242 and they may have more information.

    • V Everett

      Yes. I just saw a website that mentioned abbott laboratories who is the maker of Depakote was sued. Google it if you have not done so already and see if it comes up.

  13. Brittany Horton

    Depakote was DIRECTLY linked to my Diagnosis of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when I was 15. The Damage Depakote does to the Bones and blood cells caused my white cells to mutate. ALL is not Generally diagnosed in a 15 year old for the first time, ALL found in teens is usually a relapse because it happens when the marrow releases immature white cells, which generally doesn’t happen in teens without either having previously having ALL or Having something directly cause the mutation. The latter was the case with me. This medication ruined my life. Though I survived cancer I live in constant pain due to long term permanent after affects of chemotherapy and radiation.

    • Sherilyn Stewart

      My daughter was diagnosed with ALL after being on depakote for 7 years. I wondered always if there was a connection

    • Nicole Reyes

      I’m so sorry that happen To you, it’s happening to my husband now after only being on it for a year and a half. We need to all get together and do a class action. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with this.

  14. Bob

    I have been on Depakote for 29 years. I got dis owed with liver cancer last month.
    My doctor basically denied any coordination with cancer and Depakote?
    It was strange, in July I got results from a liver ultrasound and basically they said there was no cancer and only fatty tissue and a slight enlargement.
    So 9 months later more blood tests were taken and this time be a liver exper. And there it is, he says I have live cancer. I said how when just a few months ago here was no indications. I think the lesser experienced doctors shoul have seen it or maybe a year or 2 back they missed it. I am getting a second option by a leading hospital next week.
    How did this association know about this tremendous problem?
    I’d like more information. Thank you.

  15. John

    I’ve been on this drug since the end of November 2015 for mood swings and such. May 2015 I was attacked in Los Angeles and was beat in the head repeatedly. I had skull fractures, an epidural hematoma, traumatic brain injury. Had brain surgery.. It has caused several problems in my life now. The people from a mental health hospital are the ones that prescribed the depakote to me. I weighed 132 pounds when I started it the end of nov., and now i weigh 175. My headaches are terrible and getting worse it seems with the depakote. But when I stop taking it, I really fly off the handle and get overly nervous and irritated. I’m irritated and nervous all the time anyways, but they wont do anything else for me. What am I suppose to do?

    • mark stanton

      Hi John. I am not a doctor…but I also had TBI, from being badly beaten. They prescribed Depakote immediately. It’s hard to get off of brother…but you need to do it as son as possible. I was on it for ten years…and it screwed my whole system up badly. I also gained forty funds on it..but that was the least of the changes that occurred. I had three psychotic breakdowns on this drug. Something they were telling meet was supposed to suppress. Also developed skin cancer, and sores that never healed, that the doctors wouldn’t or couldn’t explain. These effects are small compared to the long term effects. At about year 8, I began to have fits of rage…and was headed for another beating if I didn’t do something. My thoughts were dark and made little sense. A brain injury tends to effect every person with problem solving difficulties…this drug made it much harder to solve problems…simple and complex problems. I made the choice to get off of it…with the help of one very good psychiatrist. It takes a long time…it took me almost two years. Six months of tapering off it…them another year of terrible brain health…but it was worth every hard day i spent. I’m sure everyone is different…but my savior was healthy eating and yoga. Then I found a whole bunch of natural things that help brain function. Bacon monierri, Ashwaganda, green tea extract, raw cacao, goji berries, avocado, DHA. There are many more available. Of course….lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. It helped tremendously, and my problem solving improved dramatically. My mood improved dramatically. Now…my opinion is simple. Why in the world would anyone give an already damaged brain more toxins and make it harder for the brain to work? As well as introducing a whole bunch of other problems. Unfortunately…the answer is money. My life has improved 100 fold and I highly recommend trying this approach.

  16. Holistic DesignLaura Catanzaro

    Depakote was absolutely a terrible drug. It’s certainly leads to cancer and is often improperly prescribed,with very little information given to the patient on how it can lead to cancer. Stay away from this drug!

    • Kevin big k cassidy

      Can depekote cause colon tumors in s few months as well as pancreas problems

    • Kevin big k cassidy

      Depekote or death kote cause the entire body to be exuded by ammonia which is very toxic . This drug should not even be legal it is rat poison.

    • Robert John Hughes

      I have suffered from prostate cancer (removed surgically in June 2014 in nick of time) after being on 750 mg/day of Depakote for 7 years. In June this year I was diagnosed with Myeloma IgA. I am trying to build a case of negligence against the psychiatrists that prescribed me this drug for 7 years. Where does one find the clinical/scientific trial figures which proves it is cancer forming. Your help would be appreciated.
      R John Hughes

  17. Amy LASCHER

    Need to find out my hair is falling out now!

    • Joni Bretschneider

      I have also lòst aĺot of hair. Any advice would be appreciated. I have been on Depekote for a couple of yrs.

    • Joni Bretschneider

      I had 2 seizures. 1 in 1982 and another in 2014, because I had two may neurologist said I have epilepsy. They first but me on Keppra but said that wasn’t good for me so they put me on Depekote. I am on 1500 milligrams. I just recently had my gallbladder taken out and wheñ they got to it, they said it was already dying inside of me. I’m convinced that in some way its due to the Depekote. I’m also suffering with severe back pain and losing hair. I hear this causes cancer.😯 Can someone please help me befoŕe it’s to late!

    • Roberta Easter

      I HATE this drug.Been on it for 3 yrs. for bipolar I’m 63 .Loss of hair ,soar throat, blurred vision, lethargic, extreme weight gain can’t concentrate,can’t swallow 6 huge pills,have to pee all the time, have no interest in anything!Next Dr’s. appt. I will tell him to take me off! Too many BAD side effects DO NOT TAKE!

    • Nicole Reyes

      Omg im hearing all of these horrible side effects, please go have them do a CBC or complete blood count, they should be doing this every three months, my husbands doctor was only checking the level of deprakote in my husband’s system, never did they do the recommended cbc, just make sure your doctors are checking. It’s better to just get off the drug find something with less side effects. Just start slowly weaning yourself off.


  1. Depakote Secara Parah Meningkatkan Risiko Kanker – Efek Samping Divalproex Sodium – – translate_therapy - […] Sumber artikel dari Citizens Commisions of Human Rights Florida: […]

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