Dilantin/Phenytek is an antiepileptic drug used for treating partial seizures and secondarily generalized tonic-clonic seizures. It is approved for use as a single drug therapy or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs. It is also commonly used in the prevention of seizures after moderate-to-severe head trauma and around the time of brain surgery.
Dilantin is available in capsules of 30 mg and 100 mg. Dilantin is also available in tablets of 50 mg ("Infatabs") and as a liquid suspension (125 mg/5ml). Phenytek is available as a 300 mg capsule.
What side effects can be caused by Dilantin?
Just like other drugs, Dilantin can cause side effects. Also, every patient is different. If you experience any bothersome side effects, report them to your doctor. (There is a risk of serious side effects, including death, with all medications that are used to treat seizures; however, the risk is exceedingly small). This list is not meant to be exhaustive. Please refer to the package insert for more details about Dilantin.
Some of the more common side effects of Dilantin include:
Bleeding and/or swelling of the gums (this can be reduced by good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing the teeth twice a day and visiting the dentist every six months)
Unusual or excessive hair growth, thickening of the skin
Rash or other allergic reaction (swollen glands, fever, sore throat).
Weakness of the bones (osteopenia)
Rare, but serious side effects:
In rare instances, the rash can progress to serious and potentially life-threatening skin conditions called "Stevens-Johnson syndrome" or "Toxic epidermal necrolysis."
Women who plan to have children should consult with their doctor about the possible effects on the fetus.
How should I take Dilantin?
It is important that you take the total dose of Dilantin as prescribed by your doctor. Dilantin is normally taken once a day. A convenient dosing would be in the morning or at bedtime. Do not stop this medication without the advice of your doctor; doing so may result in an increase in seizures.
Does Dilantin interact with other medications?
Tegretol/Carbatrol (carbamazepine), Depakote/Depakene (divalproex sodium or valproic acid), phenobarbital, trazodone, isoniazid (INH), sulfonamides (a class of antibiotics), antacids (calcium containing antacids and H2 blockers such as Zantac, Pepcid, Axid or Tagamet), sucralfate, alcoholic beverages, amiodarone, chloramphenicol, and oral contraceptives may affect phenytoin levels in the bloodstream.
Dilantin may affect the levels of the following medications
This list is not meant to be complete. Please ask your doctor about any specific drug-drug interactions, especially when starting a new prescribed or over-the-counter drug.
Can I take Dilantin with food or other medications?
Taking Dilantin with calcium containing medications may decrease the absorption of Dilantin by the stomach/small intestine. Most medications, however, can be taken safely with Dilantin. Tell your doctor that you are taking Dilantin before beginning to take other prescription drugs.