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The drug Depakote has been on the market for decades and has been used successfully to treat patients suffering from epileptic seizures. In addition to seizures, it has also been used to relieve migraines, and even help those afflicted with bipolar disorder. As with any drug, a person taking Depakote may experience minor side effects that can include headaches, nausea, joint pain and sleeplessness. Unfortunately, the use of Depakote has also been linked with causing severe birth defects. In a small percentage of documented cases women who took Depakote while pregnant gave birth to children with cleft palates, spina bifida, and even malformed hands. In extreme and unfortunate situations, the drug has been linked with fetal death. If you or a loved one is taking Depakote, be sure to consult with your doctor and take great care if you are, or think you may be, pregnant.