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All about: Dilantin-125

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Generic Name: phenytoin (oral) (FEN i toyn)
Brand Names: Dilantin Infatabs, Dilantin Kapseals, Dilantin-125, Phenytek

What is phenytoin?

Phenytoin is an anti-epileptic drug, also called an anticonvulsant. It works by slowing down impulses in the brain that cause seizures.

Phenytoin is used to control seizures. Phenytoin is not made to treat all types of seizures, and your doctor will determine if it is the right medication for you.

Phenytoin may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.

What is the most important information I should know about phenytoin?

If you are taking phenytoin to prevent seizures, keep taking the medication even if you feel fine. You may have an increase in seizures if you stop taking phenytoin. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Do not change your dose of phenytoin without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work as well in treating your condition.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking phenytoin, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking phenytoin?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to phenytoin.

Before taking this medication, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • porphyria;

  • diabetes; or

  • a vitamin D deficiency or any other condition that causes thinning of the bones.

If you have any of these conditions, you may not be able to use phenytoin, or you may need a dosage adjustment or special tests during treatment.

Phenytoin can lower your blood sugar. If you are a diabetic, check your blood sugar regularly while you are taking this medication.

FDA pregnancy category D. This medication can cause harm to an unborn baby. Phenytoin may also not be as effective in reducing seizures if taken during pregnancy. Do not use phenytoin without your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

Phenytoin can make birth control pills less effective. Use a non-hormonal form of birth control (such as a condom or diaphragm with spermicide) to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Phenytoin can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take phenytoin?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open an extended-release capsule. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking or opening the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. Do not use any phenytoin capsule or tablet that has changed colors. Call your doctor for a new prescription.

The chewable tablet may be chewed, broken, or crushed before swallowing, or it may be swallowed whole.

Shake the oral suspension (liquid) well just before you measure a dose. To be sure you get the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup, not with a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your blood may need to be tested on a regular basis. You may also need a blood test when switching from one form of phenytoin to another. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

If you are taking phenytoin to treat seizures, keep taking the medication even if you feel fine. You may have an increase in seizures if you stop taking phenytoin. Follow your doctor's instructions.

Do not change your dose of phenytoin without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work as well in treating your condition.

Carry an ID card or wear a medical alert bracelet stating that you are taking phenytoin, in case of emergency. Any doctor, dentist, or emergency medical care provider who treats you should know that you are taking a seizure medication. Store phenytoin at room temperature away from moisture, light, and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of phenytoin can be fatal.

Symptoms of a phenytoin overdose may include twitching eye movements, slurred speech, loss of balance, tremor, muscle stiffness or weakness, nausea, vomiting, feeling light-headed, fainting, and slow or shallow breathing.

What should I avoid while taking phenytoin?

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase some of the side effects of phenytoin, and can also increase your risk of seizure.

Avoid taking antacids at the same time you take phenytoin. Antacids can make it harder for your body to absorb the medication.

Phenytoin can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Brush and floss your teeth regularly to avoid gum disease that may be caused by taking phenytoin.

Phenytoin side effects

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. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
  • swollen glands;

  • fever, sore throat, and headache with a severe blistering, peeling, and red skin rash;

  • confusion, hallucinations, unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • slurred speech, loss of balance or coordination;

  • restless muscle movements in your eyes, tongue, jaw, or neck;

  • tremor (uncontrolled shaking);

  • extreme thirst or hunger, urinating more than usual;

  • nausea, stomach pain, low fever, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);

  • easy bruising or bleeding;

  • swollen or tender gums; or

  • changes in the shape of your face or lips.

Less serious side effects may be more likely to occur, such as:

  • mild skin rash or itching;

  • dizziness, nervousness, sleep problems (insomnia);

  • twitching;

  • nausea, vomiting, constipation;

  • headache; or

  • joint pain.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome.

What other drugs will affect phenytoin?

Drugs that can increase phenytoin levels in your blood include:

  • stomach acid reducers such as cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), famotidine (Pepcid), or nizatidine (Axid);

  • certain sedatives (such as Librium or Valium) or antidepressants (such as Prozac);

  • estrogen hormone replacement;

  • chlorpromazine (Thorazine), prochlorperazine (Compazine), thioridazine (Mellaril) and other phenothiazines;

  • disulfiram (Antabuse);

  • methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Daytrana); and

  • sulfa drugs such as Septra or Bactrim.

Drugs that can make phenytoin less effective in controlling seizures include:

  • carbamazepine (Tegretol, Epitol, Carbatrol);

  • sucralfate (Carafate); and

  • molindone (Moban).

Other drugs that can interact with phenytoin include:

  • valproic acid (Depakene) or divalproex sodium (Depakote);

  • phenobarbital (Luminal, Solfoton);

  • steroid medicines (prednisone and others);

  • antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil), paroxetine (Paxil), and others;

  • antibiotics such as rifampin (Rimactane, Rifadin, Rifamate) or doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin, Adoxa, and others);

  • digitoxin (digitalis, Lanoxin);

  • furosemide (Lasix); and

  • theophylline (Elixophyllin, Theo-Dur, Theo-Bid, Theolair, Uniphyl).

There are many other medicines that can interact with phenytoin. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor. Keep a list with you of all the medicines you use and show this list to any doctor or other healthcare provider who treats you.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist has additional information about written for health professionals that you may read.

What does my medication look like?

is available with a prescription under the brand name Dilantin. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.

  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
Copyright 1996-2006 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.04. Revision Date: 2/14/07 2:06:55 PM.

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