Dilantin

Generic Name: Phenytoin

  • What is Dilantin?

    Dilantin is a drug prescribed to control grand mal seizures (a type of seizure that causes a sudden loss of consciousness immediately followed by convulsions) and temporal lobe seizures (a type of seizure that affects smell, taste, sight, hearing, memory, and movement).

  • What is the most important information I should know about Dilantin?

    If you have been taking Dilantin regularly, do not stop abruptly. This may result in prolonged or repeated seizures which can be serious.

    People with diabetes may experience increased blood sugar levels when taking Dilantin.

    Dilantin may affect the metabolism of vitamin D, potentially leading to a softening of the bones.

    Tell your doctor if you develop a skin rash.

  • Who should not take Dilantin?

    If you have ever had an allergic reaction to or are sensitive to phenytoin or similar seizure medications such as ethotoin or mephenytoin, do not take Dilantin.

  • What should I tell my doctor before I take the first dose of Dilantin?

    Tell your doctor about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Dilantin. Also, talk to your doctor about your complete medical history, especially if you have liver problems, diabetes, bone disease, and dental problems. Also, tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

  • What is the usual dosage?

    The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your doctor uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your doctor may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your doctor's approval.

    Dosage is tailored to each individual's needs. Your doctor will monitor blood levels of the drug closely, particularly when switching you from one drug to another.

    Adults: If you have not had any previous treatment, your doctor will have you take one 100-milligram (mg) Dilantin capsule three times daily to start. Most adults need one capsule three to four times a day. Your doctor may increase the dosage to two capsules three times a day, if necessary.

    Children: Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate dose for your child based on their body weight.

  • How should I take Dilantin?

    It is important that you strictly follow the prescribed dosage regimen and tell your doctor about any condition that makes it impossible for you to take Dilantin as prescribed.

    If you are given Dilantin Oral Suspension, shake it well before using. Use a marked measuring spoon, a plastic syringe, or a small measuring cup to measure each dose accurately.

    Swallow Dilantin Kapseals whole. Dilantin Infatabs can be either chewed thoroughly and then swallowed, or swallowed whole. The Infatabs are not to be used for once-a-day dosing.

    Do not change from one form of Dilantin to another without consulting your doctor. Different products may not work the same way.

  • What should I avoid while taking Dilantin?

    Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages while taking Dilantin.

  • What are possible food and drug interactions associated with Dilantin?

    If Dilantin is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. It is especially important to check with your doctor before combining Dilantin with the following: alcohol, amiodarone, antacids containing calcium, blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin, chloramphenicol, chlorpromazine, chlordiazepoxide, cimetidine, diazepam, dicumarol, digitoxin, disulfiram, doxycycline, estrogens, ethosuximide, felbamate, fluoxetine, furosemide, isoniazid, methylphenidate, molindone, birth control pills, paroxetine, phenobarbital, quinidine, reserpine, rifampin, salicylates such as aspirin, seizure medications, steroid drugs, sucralfate, sulfisoxazole, theophylline, thioridazine, ticlopidine, tolbutamide, and trazodone.

    Certain antidepressants (such as amitriptyline and desipramine) may cause seizures in some people; a dosage adjustment of Dilantin may be necessary.

  • What are the possible side effects of Dilantin?

    Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this drug.

    Side effects may include: decreased coordination, involuntary eye movements, mental confusion, slurred speech

  • Can I receive Dilantin if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

    If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately. Because of the possibility of birth defects, you may need to discontinue the drug. Do not, however, stop taking it without first consulting your doctor. Dilantin appears in breast milk; breastfeeding is not recommended during treatment with this drug.

  • What should I do if I miss a dose of Dilantin?

    If you take one dose a day, take the dose you missed as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    If you take more than one dose a day, take the missed dose as soon as possible. If it is within 4 hours of your next dose, skip the one you missed and go back to your regular schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    If you forget to take your medication 2 or more days in a row, check with your doctor.

  • How should I store Dilantin?

    Store at room temperature away from light and moisture.

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I'm Beth Isaac, PharmD. Welcome to PDR Health!

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