Dilantin, or the generic drug phenytoin, is considered an anti-epilepsy drug. It is generally prescribed by doctors to treat seizures. It may also be prescribed for patients with certain neuropathic pains and heart arrhythmias.
How it Works
Epilepsy is characterized by an excess of high frequency, repeated firing of neurons. This firing is dependent on each neuron achieving a certain voltage. Dilantin, or phenytoin is said to block this mechanism. Thus, it is able normalize the neural activity, preventing seizures.
Primarily, doctors will prescribe Dilantin for patients with seizures of various types, including tonic-clonic seizures, focal seizures, and status epilepticus when benzodiazepines fail. However, in some cases, this drug may also be prescribed for patients with abnormal heart rhythms, digoxin toxicity, and trigeminal neuralgia.
Doctors only prescribe this medication based on a case by case basis. This means that they will first consider the patient’s exact condition and symptoms, how severe this is, and the age of the patient, among other potentially complicating factors. They will then prescribe a particular dose in extended release capsule form, chewable tablet form, or suspension form. Depending on the case, IV administration may be required.
There may be one or more undesirable side effects if you are taking this medication, especially at the time of commencement. You will not be likely to require medical assistance if you experience mild effects such as:
Involuntary eye movements
Difficulty with bowel movements
Pain in the penile tissue with erection
Speak with a medical practitioner if you experience these symptoms or other mild symptoms not listed here for a prolonged period or if they become bothersome. If you experience more severe effects, seek immediate medical care.
Severe effects include:
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Muscle control or coordination problems
Never take this drug without consulting a doctor to find out if it is safe to do so. If you are currently on the drug, do not suddenly stop without permission either. Make sure that you give the doctor your complete history of illness and prescription or recreational drug use, and any allergies that you have had.
You must especially inform the physician if you have any history of liver disease, depression, suicidal actions or ideation, diabetes, vitamin D deficiency, or porphyria. You should also mention if you have been drinking large quantities of alcohol.
Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, or planning to be, or if you need to breastfeed a baby. Do not change dosage or stop consuming the drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding before speaking with the doctor. It may be more dangerous to stop taking the drug, and this risk must be assessed by a professional.
If you are taking the extended release capsule, do not crush, break open, or chew the capsule. It must be swallowed whole with water. If your medication appears to have changed colors, do not take it. Instead, ask your doctor to renew the prescription.
Keep Dilantin at room temperature in a dry place with no heat or light. Do not vary the dose even if you have missed a dose. Taking more than prescribed may be fatal. If you suspect that you have consumed more than necessary, call for prompt medical attention.