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Medications and Drugs

Brand Names: Deplin, Zervalx

Generic Name: l-methylfolate (Pronunciation: L-METH il FOE late)

What is l-methylfolate (Deplin, Zervalx)?

Folate is a form of B vitamin that occurs naturally in many foods. Folic acid is the man-made form of folate that is added to processed foods or vitamin and mineral supplements. Folate is needed in the human body for production of red blood cells.

A lack (deficiency) of folate in the human body can be caused by certain diseases, by taking certain medications, or by not getting enough folate in your diet. Folate deficiency can lead to decreased red blood cells, or anemia.

L-methylfolate is a medical food for use in people who have conditions related to folate deficiency.

The Zervalx brand of l-methylfolate is used in the following situations:

  • in people who have high levels of a certain amino acid in their blood, a condition called hyperhomocysteinemia (HYE-per-HOE-moe-sis-tin-EE-mee-a). This condition can be related to folate deficiency or may be caused by receiving methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall);
  • in women with high-risk pregnancies who need additional folate in their diets to prevent hyperhomocysteinemia; or
  • in people with certain types of anemia (a lack of red blood cells) that may be complicated by a folate deficiency.

The Deplin brand of l-methylfolate is used in the following situations:

  • in people with major depressive disorder who have folate deficiency. Deplin is used together with anti-depressant medications in people with major depressive disorder and low folate levels.
  • in people with schizophrenia who have hyperhomocysteinemia related to folate deficiency.

Deplin is not an antidepressant. However, it may enhance the effects of antidepressant medications.

L-methylfolate may also be used for other purposes not listed in this medication guide.

What are the possible side effects of l-methylfolate (Deplin, Zervalx)?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Less serious side effects may include:

  • nausea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • bloating;
  • gas; or
  • bitter taste in your mouth.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What is the most important information I should know about l-methylfolate (Deplin, Zervalx)?

Do not use l-methylfolate without the advice of a doctor. Never share this medication with another person, even if you believe they have the same condition you have.

You should not use this medication if you have ever had an allergic reaction to l-methylfolate.

Before you take this medication, tell your doctor if you have a vitamin B12 deficiency, pernicious anemia, a history of bipolar disorder (manic depression), or if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking l-methylfolate.

Tell your doctor about all other medications you use, especially seizure medications. Do not start a new medication without telling your doctor.

Use only the brand and strength of l-methylfolate that your doctor has prescribed. Do not switch brands without your doctor's advice.



Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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