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Seroquel vs Depakote

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Seroquel Overview

Depakote Overview

Comparative Analysis

Seroquel Prescription Information

Depakote Prescription Information

Seroquel Side Effects

Depakote Side Effects

Safety Information

Cost Analysis

Market Analysis



For patients with bipolar disorder or other types of mood disorders, certain medications can help in stabilizing mood swings and managing symptoms. Seroquel and Depakote are two such drugs that are commonly prescribed for these conditions. Both interact with different neurotransmitters in the brain but have similar effects in terms of mood stabilization in patients with bipolar disorder. Seroquel is classified as an atypical antipsychotic, affecting several neurotransmitters including serotonin and dopamine through antagonism of their respective receptors. On the other hand, Depakote is primarily a GABA reuptake inhibitor, thus increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has inhibitory effects on nerve activity within the brain.

Seroquel vs Depakote Side By Side

Brand NameSeroquelDepakote
ContraindicationsCannot be taken with strong CYP3A4 inhibitors without dose adjustments. Should be discontinued gradually under a doctor's supervision to avoid withdrawal effects.Cannot be taken with certain medications without adjustments to the dose. Should be discontinued gradually under a doctor's supervision to avoid adverse effects related to sudden withdrawal.
CostFor brand name, around $700 for 60 tablets of 100 mg. For generic (quetiapine), costs range from $0.50 to $1.40 per day.For brand name, around $270 for 30 tablets of 500 mg. For generic (divalproex sodium), costs start as low as about $.05/day to approximately $.70 daily.
Generic NameQuetiapineDivalproex Sodium
Most Serious Side EffectIncreased thoughts about suicide or self-harm, severe allergic reactions, vision changes, heartbeat irregularities, low levels of sodium in the body, Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS).Liver damage, symptoms of allergic reactions, unusual changes in mood or behavior including increased suicidal thoughts, a seizure, confusion or hallucinations, blurred vision or sudden loss of vision, rapid heartbeat.
Severe Drug InteractionsStrong CYP3A4 inhibitors.Specific interactions not detailed, but caution advised with other medications to prevent dangerous interactions.
Typical Dose150-750 mg/day for schizophrenia in adults, with a lower dosage around 300 mg/day being effective for most. For bipolar disorder in children and adolescents aged 10 to 17, starting dose is around 50 mg/day. Maximum dosage should not exceed 800mg/day.Starts at 250 mg twice daily, can be increased by 250 mg every week up to a maximum of 1000 mg/day. For acute manic episodes, an initial loading dose of up to 15 mg/kg/day can be considered.

What is Seroquel?

Quetiapine (the generic name for Seroquel) was the first drug of the atypical antipsychotic class, which marked a significant advancement upon the traditional class of antipsychotic drugs. Quetiapine was initially approved by the FDA in 1997. Seroquel increases levels of free serotonin and dopamine by preventing them from being reabsorbed, effectively “trapping” them in the brain for longer than usual. It is prescribed for treating bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depressive disorders. Unlike Prozac that has a selective influence on serotonin only with minor effects on dopamine and norepinephrine; Seroquel impacts both these neurotransmitters significantly.

On the other hand, Divalproex sodium (Depakote's generic form) is an anticonvulsant medication primarily used to treat seizure disorders but also useful as a mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder treatment and to prevent migraines' onset. Its mode of action involves increasing GABA levels in your brain—GABA being an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps control nerve cells' hyperactivity associated with seizures or mania episodes.

What conditions is Seroquel approved to treat?

Seroquel is approved for the treatment of several psychiatric conditions:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Bipolar disorder, specifically manic episodes and maintenance treatment (both as monotherapy and in combination with other drugs)
  • Adjunctive therapy to antidepressants for major depressive disorder

How does Seroquel help with these illnesses?

Seroquel, also known as quetiapine, helps manage symptoms of psychosis by affecting the amount of dopamine and serotonin available in the synapses of the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters that act as messengers in the brain and throughout the body. They play crucial roles in mood regulation, cognition, memory, sleep patterns among other things. Seroquel works by blocking these neurotransmitters from being reabsorbed by neurons so levels can be maintained for longer periods. This leads to an alleviation of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions.

On the other hand, Depakote (Valproic acid) is a medication primarily used to treat seizures but it's also effective for bipolar disorder management because it increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in your brain. GABA is another important neurotransmitter that inhibits nerve impulses in your nervous system which reduces manic episodes and stabilizes mood swings associated with bipolar disorder.

When comparing these two medications remember that each one has different applications: Seroquel tends to be more suitable for conditions like schizophrenia or acute mania while Depakote shines as an epilepsy treatment or managing chronic conditions like bipolar disorder due its ability to stabilize moods over time.

What is Depakote?

Depakote, a brand name for divalproex sodium, is a medication that combines sodium valproate and valproic acid. This combination creates an antiepileptic drug (AED), designed to increase the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain by reducing its breakdown and reabsorption. It first received FDA approval in 1983. As Depakote isn't an atypical antipsychotic like Seroquel, it doesn't influence dopamine or serotonin receptors directly. Thus, this means its side-effect profile differs from those of atypical antipsychotics such as Seroquel - specifically, it's less likely to cause weight gain or metabolic syndrome but can lead to liver damage if used long-term without proper care or monitoring. The action on GABA can be advantageous in managing epilepsy and bipolar disorder, especially among patients who don’t respond well to typical antipsychotic medications like Seroquel.

What conditions is Depakote approved to treat?

Depakote, an established medication in pharmacotherapy, has been approved for the management of:

  • Various types of seizures including complex partial seizures and simple or complex absence seizures
  • Manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder
  • Prophylaxis of migraines to decrease their frequency

How does Depakote help with these illnesses?

Depakote, like Seroquel, has a profound impact on the central nervous system and its neurotransmitters. Depakote primarily increases the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that slows down brain activity, reducing symptoms of mania in bipolar disorder and preventing seizures in epilepsy patients. This function makes it a unique tool for managing these conditions when typical antipsychotic or mood stabilizer medications such as Seroquel may not be effective alone or are not well-tolerated by patients. While both drugs can potentially manage similar psychiatric disorders, their distinct mechanisms mean they could have different effects on individual patients' symptoms.

How effective are both Seroquel and Depakote?

Both quetiapine (Seroquel) and divalproex sodium (Depakote) have proven effective in treating manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, and were approved by the FDA only a few years apart. Seroquel works as an antagonist to several neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, histamine, and adrenergic receptors; Depakote is thought to work by increasing brain levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), although its exact mechanism remains unclear.

A 2006 double-blind clinical trial compared the efficacy of Seroquel and Depakote in managing symptoms of acute mania over a three-week period. This study found that both drugs significantly reduced manic symptoms but did not differ dramatically from one another in terms of overall effectiveness or safety profiles. However, patients receiving Seroquel reported somewhat fewer side effects related to tremors.

In terms of long-term treatment for bipolar disorder, evidence suggests that both Seroquel and Depakote can be effective at preventing new mood episodes. A 2010 meta-analysis found that maintenance therapy with either drug reduced the risk of any mood episode relapse by about half over two years when compared to placebo. Generally speaking though, these medications are often used as part of a broader treatment strategy involving other medications depending on individual patient needs.

Though they share many similarities in their use for treating bipolar disorder, there are some key differences between how these drugs are typically prescribed. For instance, while both drugs can be used alone in "monotherapy", they also have different roles when used as part of combination therapy strategies: Seroquel is often added onto other therapies due to its unique ability among antipsychotics to treat depressive symptoms effectively; meanwhile Depakote may be preferred as an initial choice because it has been more extensively studied than newer options like second-generation antipsychotics.

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At what dose is Seroquel typically prescribed?

Oral dosages of Seroquel for treating schizophrenia in adults usually range from 150-750 mg/day, but research suggests that a lower dosage of around 300 mg/day may be effective for most people. For bipolar disorder treatment in children and adolescents aged 10 to 17, the starting dose is generally around 50 mg/day. In either population, if necessary, the dosage can be slowly increased by your healthcare provider over several weeks based on response and tolerability. The maximum dosage should not exceed 800mg/day under any circumstances unless advised by a healthcare professional.

At what dose is Depakote typically prescribed?

Depakote treatment generally starts at a dosage of 250 mg twice daily. The dose can then be increased by 250 mg every week, up to a maximum of 1000 mg/day divided into smaller doses taken two or three times per day. This increase should only occur if there is insufficient response to the initial dosage after each weekly trial period. For patients with acute manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, an initial loading dose of up to 15 mg/kg/day can be considered, but this will need to be adjusted based on clinical response and tolerability. Always remember that Depakote dosages should always adhere strictly to your doctor's instructions.

What are the most common side effects for Seroquel?

Common side effects of Seroquel might include:

  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting (especially when standing up)
  • Tiredness
  • Increased appetite and weight gain
  • Upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Abnormal dreams or nightmares
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Blurred vision

Similarly, Depakote can cause:

  • Nausea/vomiting that doesn't go away
  • Unusually weak or tired feelings
  • Facial swelling
  • Rapid weight gain
  • Severe skin reaction (fever, sore throat)
  • Tingling in the hands or feet
  • Changes in mood or behavior; thoughts of self-harm.

These lists are not exhaustive. If you experience any unusual symptoms while taking these medications, contact your healthcare provider immediately.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Seroquel?

While both Seroquel and Depakote are medications used to manage mental/mood conditions, they can have different side effects. For Seroquel, potential serious side effects include:

  • Increased thoughts about suicide or self-harm, especially in those under 24 years of age.
  • Signs of severe allergic reactions: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat.
  • Vision changes such as blurred vision or cataracts
  • Heartbeat irregularities – slow or fast heart rate; feeling like you might pass out.
  • Low levels of sodium in the body - symptoms may include headache, confusion, slurred speech, severe weakness and unsteadiness.
  • Neuroleptic malignant syndrome (NMS) - a potentially fatal nervous system problem characterized by high fever; stiff muscles; confusion; sweating; changes in pulse rate or blood pressure.

On contrary with Depakote similar precautions need to be taken but it has its own set of serious side-effects that might occur which includes:

  • Liver damage signs including nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop loss of appetite/swelling abdomen/yellowing eyes/skin/dark urine;
  • Allergic reaction signs: rash/itching/swelling/severe dizziness/trouble breathing; Severe drowsiness/difficulty waking up/fast/shallow breathing/signs of metabolic acidosis such as tiredness/loss-of-appetite/irregular heartbeat/confusion;

With either medication contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience any adverse reactions.

What are the most common side effects for Depakote?

Depakote, also known as divalproex sodium, can have various side effects. These may include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, stomach pain or cramps
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Changes in appetite; weight changes
  • Dry mouth or unusual taste in the mouth
  • Hair loss
  • Blurred vision and other changes to sight
  • Tremors (shaking) or unsteady walk
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Trouble sleeping (insomnia) -Anxiety and restlessness.

It's important to note that this isn't an exhaustive list and some people might experience less common but more serious side effects like confusion, rash, joint pain, rapid heartbeat among others. Always consult your healthcare provider for a comprehensive understanding of potential risks before starting on Depakote.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Depakote?

Depakote, like any medication, has the potential for serious side effects. If you notice any of these symptoms while taking Depakote, it may be an indication of a more severe reaction:

  • Symptoms of allergic reactions such as hives; difficulty breathing; swelling in your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Unusual changes in mood or behavior including increased suicidal thoughts and tendencies
  • A seizure (even if you have no history of seizures)
  • Confusion or hallucinations
  • Blurred vision or sudden loss of vision with pain behind your eyes
  • Rapid heartbeat that you can feel in your chest
  • Signs suggestive of liver damage: fever, fatigue, loss of appetite, dark urine,coloration change to stool color (from light to dark), jaundice(yellowing)of the skin/eyes
    Remember that it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if any such symptoms are observed.

Contraindications for Seroquel and Depakote?

Both Seroquel and Depakote, along with most other medications for bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, may worsen symptoms in some people. If you notice your symptoms worsening, or an increase in suicidal ideation, thoughts, or behavior while taking these drugs, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Seroquel nor Depakote can be taken if you are taking certain types of medication such as strong CYP3A4 inhibitors (for example certain antifungal treatments) without adjustments to the dose. Always tell your physician which medications you are currently taking; it is crucial to prevent dangerous interactions between these medicines and Seroquel or Depakote. Moreover, both drugs should be discontinued gradually under a doctor's supervision to avoid adverse effects related to sudden withdrawal.

How much do Seroquel and Depakote cost?

When comparing the brand name versions of Seroquel and Depakote:

  • The price for 60 tablets of Seroquel (100 mg) averages around $700, which works out to about $23–46 per day, depending on your dose.
  • The cost of 30 tablets of Depakote (500 mg) is typically around $270, translating to approximately $9/day.

Therefore, if you are in a higher dosage range for Seroquel (i.e., 300 mg/day or more), then brand-name Depakote may be less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, remember that cost should not be the only factor when deciding which medication is appropriate for you.

For generic versions known as quetiapine (Seroquel) and divalproex sodium (Depakote), costs can be significantly lower:

  • Quetiapine is available in packs starting from 30 tablets with estimated costs ranging from $0.50 to $1.40 per day at dosages between 100mg/day up to typical daily doses between 200 and 800mg.
  • Divalproex Sodium comes in packs ranging from 10 up to several hundred pills with prices starting as low as about $.05/day reaching upwards towards approximately $.70 daily based on tablet size and quantity purchased upfront.

Popularity of Seroquel and Depakote

Quetiapine, commonly known under the brand name Seroquel, is an atypical antipsychotic medication that was prescribed to approximately 2.8 million people in the United States in 2020. This drug accounts for nearly 20% of atypical antipsychotic prescriptions and has been generally increasing in prevalence since its approval by the FDA.

On the other hand, Divalproex Sodium, often identified by one of its brand names Depakote, is a mood stabilizer frequently used to treat bipolar disorder and epilepsy. In comparison to Seroquel's prescription numbers, Depakote was prescribed roughly 3 million times within the United States during 2020. Despite being on the market longer than Quetiapine (since around mid-1980s), Divalproex Sodium’s prescription rate has remained relatively stable over recent years with no significant increase or decrease noted.


Both Seroquel (quetiapine) and Depakote (divalproex sodium or valproate semisodium) have solid track records of usage in treating bipolar disorder, and their effectiveness is backed by numerous clinical studies and meta-analyses showing superior efficacy compared to placebos. Occasionally, these drugs may be prescribed together under careful physician supervision due to potential interaction risks. They work via different mechanisms: Seroquel primarily affects serotonin and dopamine receptors, while Depakote acts on increasing the concentration of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Seroquel is often used as a first-line treatment for bipolar depression, whereas Depakote might typically be chosen to manage manic episodes or mixed states. Both medications are available in generic forms, leading to significant cost savings for patients who must pay out-of-pocket.

The side effect profiles are reasonably similar between the two drugs; both are generally well-tolerated but carry common side effects like sedation/drowsiness and weight gain. However, specific precautions exist for each medication—Depakote can potentially cause liver damage while with Seroquel there's a risk of metabolic disturbances such as hyperglycemia. As with all psychiatric medications, patients should carefully monitor any mood changes when initiating therapy and seek immediate medical assistance if symptoms worsen or suicidal thoughts emerge.