In: Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMed®) [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; 2006.


Very little information is available on the clinical use of divalproex during breastfeeding. However, divalproex is rapidly metabolized in the body to the active drug valproic acid. Valproic acid levels in breastmilk are low and infant serum levels range from undetectable to low. Breastfeeding during valproic acid monotherapy does not appear to adversely affect infant growth or development, and breastfed infants had higher IQs and enhanced verbal abilities than nonbreastfed infants at 6 years of age in one study.[1] A safety scoring system finds valproic acid possible to use during breastfeeding.[2] If valproic acid is required by the mother, it is not necessarily a reason to discontinue breastfeeding.

No definite adverse reactions to valproic acid in breastfed infants have been reported. Theoretically, breastfed infants are at risk for valproic acid-induced hepatotoxicity, so infants should be monitored for jaundice and other signs of liver damage during maternal therapy. A questionable case of thrombocytopenia has been reported, so monitor the infant for unusual bruising or bleeding. A rare case of infant baldness might have been caused by valproate in milk. Observe the infant for jaundice and unusual bruising or bleeding. Combination therapy with sedating anticonvulsants or psychotropics may result in infant sedation or withdrawal reactions.

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