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Phenytoin (By mouth)

Treats and prevents seizures.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Phenytoin is used to control seizures (convulsions) in the treatment of epilepsy. It is also used to prevent and treat seizures that occur during brain surgery. This medicine is an anticonvulsant that works in the brain tissue to stop seizures. This medicine is available only with your doctor's prescription… Read more
Brand names include
Dilantin, Dilantin Infatabs, Dilantin Kapseals, Dilantin-125, Dilantin-30, Diphen, Phenytek
Other forms
Injection
Drug classes About this
Antiarrhythmic, Group IB, Anticonvulsant

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Phenytoin for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults

Nerves which have been damaged by injury or disease can continue to produce pain. This type of pain is called neuropathic pain. Some antiepileptic medications can help neuropathic pain. Phenytoin is an antiepileptic medication, and the aim of this review was to assess how effective phenytoin is for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. We identified no good quality studies of phenytoin used in this situation. When used to treat epilepsy, phenytoin can cause potentially troublesome adverse events, affecting nervous tissue, the blood, and unborn children. Based on current evidence, phenytoin cannot be recommended for treating neuropathic pain. Other antiepileptic drugs such as pregabalin, gabapentin, and carbamazepine have been shown to be of value in neuropathic pain.

Phenobarbitone versus phenytoin monotherapy for partial onset seizures and generalised onset tonic‐clonic seizures

Epilepsy is a disorder where recurrent seizures are caused by abnormal electrical discharges from the brain. Worldwide, phenobarbitone and phenytoin are commonly used antiepileptic drugs. This review found no evidence to suggest a difference between phenobarbitone and phenytoin for the control of the seizure types investigated. Phenobarbitone was more likely to be withdrawn than phenytoin, presumably due to adverse effects, however other factors may have influenced the rate of withdrawal of phenobarbitone in this review.

Carbamazepine versus phenytoin monotherapy for epilepsy

There is no evidence to suggest any difference between the drugs carbamazepine and phenytoin for the seizure types studied.

See all (100)

Summaries for consumers

Phenytoin for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia in adults

Nerves which have been damaged by injury or disease can continue to produce pain. This type of pain is called neuropathic pain. Some antiepileptic medications can help neuropathic pain. Phenytoin is an antiepileptic medication, and the aim of this review was to assess how effective phenytoin is for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia. We identified no good quality studies of phenytoin used in this situation. When used to treat epilepsy, phenytoin can cause potentially troublesome adverse events, affecting nervous tissue, the blood, and unborn children. Based on current evidence, phenytoin cannot be recommended for treating neuropathic pain. Other antiepileptic drugs such as pregabalin, gabapentin, and carbamazepine have been shown to be of value in neuropathic pain.

Phenobarbitone versus phenytoin monotherapy for partial onset seizures and generalised onset tonic‐clonic seizures

Epilepsy is a disorder where recurrent seizures are caused by abnormal electrical discharges from the brain. Worldwide, phenobarbitone and phenytoin are commonly used antiepileptic drugs. This review found no evidence to suggest a difference between phenobarbitone and phenytoin for the control of the seizure types investigated. Phenobarbitone was more likely to be withdrawn than phenytoin, presumably due to adverse effects, however other factors may have influenced the rate of withdrawal of phenobarbitone in this review.

Carbamazepine versus phenytoin monotherapy for epilepsy

There is no evidence to suggest any difference between the drugs carbamazepine and phenytoin for the seizure types studied.

See all (37)

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