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Brand & Generic Names

Dilantin Diphenylhydantoin
Dilantin-30 ETHOTOIN
Dilantin-125 MEPHENYTOIN
Dilantin Infatabs Mesantoin
Dilantin Kapseals Peganone
Dilantin-30-Pediatric Phenytex
Diphenylan PHENYTOIN

Basic Information

  • Habit forming? No
  • Prescription needed? Yes
  • Available as generic? Yes
  • Drug class: Anticonvulsant (hydantoin)


  • Prevents some forms of epileptic seizures.
  • Stabilizes irregular heartbeat.

Dosage & Usage Information

How to take:
Tablet--Swallow with liquid.
Chewable tablets--Chew well before swallowing.
Suspension--Shake well before taking with liquid.

When to take:
At the same time each day.

If you forget a dose:
If drug taken 1 time per day--Take as soon as you remember up to 12 hours late. If more than 12 hours, wait for next scheduled dose (don't double this dose).
If taken several times per day--Take as soon as possible, then return to regular schedule.

What drug does:
Promotes sodium loss from nerve fibers. This lessens excitability and inhibits spread of nerve impulses.

Time lapse before drug works:
7 to 10 days continual use.

Don't take with:
Any other medicine without consulting your doctor or pharmacist.


Jerky eye movements; stagger; slurred speech; imbalance; drowsiness; blood pressure drop; slow, shallow breathing; coma.


  • Dial 911 (emergency) or 0 (operator) for an ambulance or medical help. Then give first aid immediately.
  • See EMERGENCY information.

Possible Adverse Reactions or Side Effects


    Severe allergic Seek emergency help. reaction (rash, fever, swollen glands, kidney failure).


    Mild dizziness, drowsi- ness; nausea; vomiting; constipation; bleeding, swollen or tender gums.


  • Hallucinations, confusion, slurred speech, stagger, rash, change in vision, agitation.
  • Headache, diarrhea, muscle twitching.
  • Increased body and facial hair, breast swelling, insomnia.


    Sore throat, fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, abdominal pain, jaundice.

Warnings & Precautions

Don't take if:
You are allergic to any hydantoin anticonvulsant.

Before you start, consult your doctor:

  • If you have impaired liver function or disease.
  • If you will have surgery within 2 months, including dental surgery, requiring dental or spinal anesthesia.
  • If you have diabetes.
  • If you have a blood disorder.

Over age 60:
Adverse reactions and side effects may be more frequent and severe than in younger persons.

Studies inconclusive about harm to unborn child. Decide with your doctor if drug benefits justify risk to unborn child.

Drug passes into milk. Avoid drug or discontinue nursing until you finish medicine. Consult doctor for advice on maintaining milk supply.

Infants & children:
Use only under medical supervision.

Prolonged use:

  • Weakened bones.
  • Lymph gland enlargement.
  • Possible liver damage.
  • Numbness and tingling of hands and feet.
  • Continual back-and-forth eye movements.
  • Talk to your doctor about the need for follow-up medical examinations or laboratory studies to check complete blood counts (white blood cell count, platelet count, red blood cell count, hemoglobin, hematocrit), liver function, EEG*.

Skin & sunlight:
May cause rash or intensify sunburn in areas exposed to sun or sunlamp.

Driving, piloting or hazardous work:
Don't drive or pilot aircraft until you learn how medicine affects you. Don't work around dangerous machinery. Don't climb ladders or work in high places. Danger increases if you drink alcohol or take medicine affecting alertness and reflexes.

Don't discontinue without consulting doctor. Dose may require gradual reduction if you have taken drug for a long time. Doses of other drugs may also require adjustment.

May cause learning disability.

Possible Interaction with Other Drugs

------------------------- -----------------------
Amiodarone Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Antacids* Decreased anticonvulsant effect.
Anticoagulants* Increased effect of both drugs.
Antidepressants, May need to adjust anticonvulsant dose.
Barbiturates* Changed seizure pattern.
Calcium Decreased effects of both drugs.
Carbamazepine Possible increased anticonvulsant
Carbonic anhydrase Increased chance of bone disease.
Central nervous Oversedation.
Chloramphenicol Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Cimetidine Increased anticonvulsant toxicity.
Contraceptives, oral* Increased seizures.
Cortisone drugs* Decreased cortisone effect.
Cyclosporine May decrease cyclosporine effect.
Digitalis Decreased digitalis effect.
Disopyramide Decreased disopyramide effect.
Disulfiram Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Estrogens* Increased estrogen effect.
Felbamate Increased side effects and adverse
Fluconazole Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Furosemide Decreased furosemide effect.
Gold compounds* Increased anticonvulsant blood levels.
Hydantoin dose may require adjustment.
Glutethimide Decreased anticonvulsant effect.
Griseofulvin Increased griseofulvin effect.
Hypoglycemics, oral* Possible decreased hypoglycemic effect.
Hypoglycemics, other* Possible decreased hypoglycemic effect.
Isoniazid Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Itraconazole Decreased itrconazole effect.
Leucovorin May counteract the effect of phenytoin
or any hydantoin anticonvulsant.
Loxapine Decreased anticonvulsant effect of
phenytoin or any hydantoin anti-
MAO inhibitors* Increased polythiazide effect.
Methadone Decreased methadone effect.
Methotrexate Increased methotrexate effect.
Methylphenidate Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Molindone Increased phenytoin effect.
Nicardipine Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Nimodipine Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Nitrates* Excessive blood pressure drop.
Nizatidine Increased effect and toxicity of
Omeprazole Delayed excretion of phenytoin
causing increased amount of phenytoin
in blood.
Oxyphenbutazone Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Para-aminosalycylic Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Paroxetine Decreased anticonvulsant effect.
Phenacemide Increased risk of paranoid symptoms.
Phenothiazines* Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Phenylbutazone Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Potassium supplements* Decreased potassium effect.
Probenecid Decreased probenecid effect.
Propafenone Increased effect of both drugs and
increased risk of toxicity.
Propranolol Increased propranolol effect.
Quinidine Increased quinidine effect.
Rifampin Decreased anticonvulsant effect.
Sedatives* Increased sedative effect.
Sotalol Decreased sotalol effect.
Sucralfate Decreased anticonvulsant effect.
Sulfa drugs* Increased anticonvulsant effect.
Theophylline Reduced anticonvulsant effect.
Trimethoprim Increased phenytoin effect.
Valproic acid Breakthrough seizures.
Xanthines* Decreased effects of both drugs.

Possible Interaction with Other Substances

--------------- ---------------
Alcohol: Possible decreased anticonvulsant
effect. Use with caution.
Beverages: None expected.
Cocaine: Possible seizures.
Foods: None expected.
Marijuana: Drowsiness, unsteadiness, decreased
anticonvulsant effect.
Tobacco: None expected.

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