Manufactured by Pfizer


Generic Name: Phenytoin (FENY-toy-n)

Used to Treat: epilepsy

Seizure Type: Partial seizures (all types)

Forms of the medicine:

200 mg. - 400 mg. daily

General Info:
What is Dilantin?
Dilantin (Di-LAN-Tin) is one of the most commonly used drugs to control epileptic seizures in the USA and many countries in the world. It is also known by the generic name phenytoin (FEN-Ih-Toe-In). Dilantin is used to treat various types of convulsions and seizures and can be as pills, extended-release capsules, chewable capsules, or syrup.

How do I take Dilantin?
Take this medication exactly as it is prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts or longer than recommended by your doctor. Do not change your dosage without your doctor's advice. Tell your doctor if the medication does not seem to work in treating your condition.

Dilantin can be taken with food or on an empty stomach. However, try to take it the same way each day as food may change the time it takes to be absorbed. Do not take antacids or medicine for diarrhea within 2 to 3 hours of taking Dilantin. These medicines can also affect how well the medication is absorbed.

Swallow the pill or capsule whole. Do not crush, chew, break, or open the pill or capsule as it is specially made to release medicine slowly throughout the body. Breaking or opening the pill or capsule will cause too much of the drug to be released at one time. While the chewable tablet may be swallowed whole, it may also be chewed, broken, or crushed before swallowing. Shake the syrup well just before measuring a dose. To be sure you ingest the correct dose, measure the liquid with a marked measuring spoon or medicine cup. Do not use a regular table spoon. Ask your pharmacist to provide you with one if you do not have a dose-measuring device.

What if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take an extra dose, unless prescribed by your doctor.

What if I experience side-effects?
Various side effects may occur in taking this medicine. Most side effects are not serious and may disappear naturally. Call your doctor if you have any questions concerning your possible side effects. However, do not stop taking your medication without advice from your doctor. They will discuss and recommend possible options. At times it is necessary to continue taking your medication despite these side effects, if your seizures cannot be controlled with other antiepileptic medications.

There are other side effects that may be serious and indicate that your body is not tolerating the drug properly. Call a doctor right away if these side effects become severe or cause considerable problems in your daily functions. If you experience a change in seizures, severe rash, or allergic reaction contact your doctor immediately as these may indicate potentially life threatening problems.

Contact your physician immediately if you experience any of the following side effects:

  • Difficulty coordinating movements
  • Skin rash
  • Easy bruising
  • Tiny purple-colored skin spots
  • Bloody nose
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual bleeding
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Dark urine
  • Swollen glands
  • Unexplained fever
  • Sore throat

Keep this medication in its original container, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store your prescription at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (i.e. not the bathroom). Protect the extended-release capsules and liquid from light. Do not freeze the liquid. Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

Recommendation for women
Dilantin has an FDA pregnancy category of “D” meaning that there is a risk to the developing fetus. If you find or suspect that you are pregnant, continue to use this medicine and contact your doctor right away. Talk to your doctor about the potential benefits and risks before making any decisions about the use of this medicine. Seizures can be harmful to the mother and the developing fetus but can be reduced with proper care.

Other helpful information
Differing Dilantin (phenytoin) prescription brands of capsules and tablets may have different effects. Do not change brands of phenytoin without talking to your doctor. However, if you notice that your pharmacy has switched you from Dilantin to the generic formulation phenytoin, contact your doctor immediately. If you have been seizure-free on the Dilantin formulation, you should avoid being switched to generic phenytoin.

Side Effects

Hairiness, Clumsiness, Thickening of features, Rash, Twitching, Insomnia, Gum overgrowth, Headaches, Drowsiness, Nervousness, Appetite loss, Upset stomach, Blurred or double vision, Confusion