Phenytoin is available
in liquid, capsule, and chewable tablet forms. It is also available as an
Fosphenytoin is a form of phenytoin
that is given in a vein (intravenous, or IV) or into a muscle
(intramuscular, or IM) and can be used in cases of
Phenytoin prevents seizures by reducing
activity in certain areas of the brain.
Phenytoin is one of the drugs of
Phenytoin should not be used to treat absence seizures or
Phenytoin helps to control partial seizures and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.1
Common side effects of phenytoin
High levels of phenytoin in the body may also cause:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a
warning on antiepileptic medicines and the risk of suicide and suicidal
thoughts. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines.
Instead, people who take antiepileptic medicine should be watched closely for
warning signs of suicide. People who take
antiepileptic medicine and who are worried about this side effect should talk
to a doctor.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects.
(Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
It may take time and careful, controlled adjustments
by you and your doctor to find the combination, schedule, and dosing of
medicine to best manage your epilepsy. The goal is to prevent seizures while
causing as few side effects as possible. After you and your doctor
figure out the medicine program that works best for you, make sure to follow your program exactly as prescribed.
Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.
CitationsDrugs for epilepsy (2008). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 6(70): 37–46.
August 26, 2011
Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Steven C. Schachter, MD - Neurology
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