This is an anti-epileptic drug and is also called anticonvulsant. It is also known as phenytoin and is sold under the name Dilantin among others. This medicine was first made in the year 1908 by a German chemist Heinrich Biltz. It was found useful for seizures in the year 1936. This medicine is considered an effective and a safe medicine. It is also listed in the World Health Organization`s list of essential medicines. This is not too expensive and generic versions are also available for this medicine.
Uses of Dilantin
This medicine is used for the treatment and to control seizures. However, it cannot treat all types of seizures. It is used for partial seizures, tonic clonic seizures. The intravenous form of this medicine is used for the treatment of status epilepticus. It can also be used to treat heart arrhythmias or neuropathic pain.
Side Effects of Dilantin
Dilantin can cause some serious side effects in certain patients. Most patients may not report any side effects. Some of the common side effects of this medicine are
- Loss of balance or coordination
- Abnormal eye movement
- Sleep problems or insomnia
- Slurred speech
Some of the serious side effects are
- Swollen glands
- Severe muscle pain
- Skin rash
- Severe weakness
- Easy bruising
- Easy bleeding
- Upper stomach pain
- Loss of appetite
- Dark urine
- Bone pain
- Trouble with walking
- Sore throat
- Burning in the eye
- Skin pain
- Severe muscle pain
- Swelling of the face or tongue
If you observe any new or worsening symptoms, report the same to your doctor. Especially if you feel mood swings, behaviour changes, panic attacks, agitated, hostile, aggressive, hyperactive, more depressed, suicidal thoughts, or anxiety. There can be other side effects as well, hence get immediate medical help.
Contraindications of Dilantin
This medicine should not be used patients if they are already taking delavirdine or are allergic to other medicines. If you have a medical history of liver problems, heart conditions called AV block, history of slow heartbeats, diabetes, history of depression, vitamin D deficiency, porphyria or skin and nervous system disorder, alcohol and substance abuse, then you should not use this medicine. It will not only worsen the condition, it can even be fatal in some cases. Since this medicine induces suicidal tendencies, hence one needs to be extra careful. Also, the care giver or the family should be on the lookout for any such signs. Visit the doctor regularly and even ask your care giver or family member to accompany you. You should not start or stop the medicine without consulting the doctor.
Pregnancy and Dilantin
This medicine is known to affect the fetus, if taken during pregnancy, however, seizures during pregnancy can be bad for both the mother and the child. If the doctor approves only then use this medicine. It is better to avoid pregnancy, if you are using this medicine. As this medicine can make birth control pills less effective hence check with your doctor for better options than the pills. It can also pass into the breast milk and harm the nursing baby.
Dilantin is used to treat epilepsy and other seizures. Dilantin may be used to treat other medical conditions not listed in this information guide.
Dilantin must always be used as directed. Do not make adjustments to the dose before speaking to a doctor.
Never break open, chew or crush the extended release capsule.
When taking Dilantin oral suspension use a proper medical measuring device to ensure that the correct dose is administered.
If you miss a dose, it may be taken when you remember. However, do not take the missed dose near the time of the next scheduled dose. In this case, ignore the missed dose. Never double-up on a dose.
Warnings and Precautions
Do not use Dilantin if you are allergic to phenytoin.
If you are using Dilantin to prevent epilepsy, wear a medical alert. In case of an emergency, the medical staff assisting you will need to know that you are epileptic.
Tell your doctor if you suffer with any of the following: a deficiency of Vitamin D or other conditions that cause bone loss, porphyria, liver problems, or diabetes.
Some patients experience suicidal thoughts while taking Dilantin. Any change in mood or behavior should be reported to the patient’s doctor.
Before using Dilantin, you must give your doctor full details of your medical history and other medications that you use. These include herbal medicines and vitamin supplements. Dilantin can react badly with some medications.
Dilantin can harm an unborn fetus therefore this drug should not be used by pregnant women unless otherwise instructed by a doctor. The efficacy of Dilantin to reduce seizures is lessened during pregnancy. Women should use an effective form of contraception while using Dilantin.
Dilantin is passed into breast milk so women who are breast-feeding should use Dilantin with caution, under a doctor’s directions.
Call for emergency assistance if any of the following symptoms of allergy occur: difficulty in breathing, hives, or swelling of the lips, tongue, throat or face.
Contact your doctor if any of the following side-effects occur: anxiety, depression, change in behavior, hyperactivity, suicidal thoughts, hostility, agitation, restlessness, swollen glands, sore throat, headache, fever, skin rash with peeling or blisters, hallucinations, confusion, speech problems, lack of co-ordination, twitching muscles (in eyes, jaws, neck or tongue), extreme hunger or thirst, tremors, nausea, stomach pain, increased urination, dark urine, low fever, lack of appetite, jaundice, clay-colored stools, easy bleeding or bruising, or tender or swollen gums.
Less serious side-effects can include nervousness, mild itching or skin rash, dizziness, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, headache, joint pain, or constipation.
Contact your doctor if any uncomfortable symptoms occur, or persist.
If overdose is suspected, call for emergency assistance immediately. Symptoms of overdose with Dilantin can include twitching of the eyes, loss of balance, speech problems, muscle weakness or stiffness, tremors, fainting, and shallow, slow breathing.
Dilantin must be kept away from children and stored in a dry, cool place away from sunlight and moisture.