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Phenytoin is prescribed for the control of generalized tonic-clonic (grand mal) and complex partial (psychomotor, temporal lobe) seizures and prevention and treatment of seizures occurring during or following neurosurgery.
Phenytoin is prescribed to treat various types of convulsions and seizures. Phenytoin acts on the brain and nervous system in the treatment of epilepsy.
An anticonvulsant that is prescribed in a wide variety of seizures. It is also an anti-arrhythmic and a muscle relaxant. The mechanism of therapeutic action is not clear, although several cellular actions have been described including effects on ion channels, active transport, and general membrane stabilization. The mechanism of its muscle relaxant effect appears to involve a reduction in the sensitivity of muscle spindles to stretch. Phenytoin has been proposed for several other therapeutic uses, but its use has been limited by its many adverse effects and interactions with other drugs.
Phenytoin is contraindicated in those patients who are hypersensitive to phenytoin or other hydantoins.
Without a Prescription
Phenytoin comes as a capsule, extended-release (long-acting) capsule, chewable tablet, and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken two or three times a day. However, the extended-release capsules may be taken only once a day, usually at bedtime.
Shake the liquid well before each use.
Do not open, crush, or chew the extended-release capsules; swallow them whole.
Phenytoin is an antiepileptic drug which can be useful in the treatment of epilepsy. The primary site of action appears to be the motor cortex where spread of seizure activity is inhibited. Phenytoin reduces the maximal activity of brain stem centers responsible for the tonic phase of tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures. Phenytoin acts to damp the unwanted, runaway brain activity seen in seizure by reducing electrical conductance among brain cells. It lacks the sedation effects associated with phenobarbital. There are some indications that phenytoin has other effects, including anxiety control and mood stabilization, although it has never been approved for those purposes by the FDA.
Phenytoin side effects that you should report to your health care professional or doctor as soon as possible:
- bloody nose;
- blurred or double vision;
- dark urine;
- difficulty coordinating movements;
- difficulty swallowing;
- easy bruising;
- increased hair growth;
- loss of taste and appetite;
- mental confusion;
- muscle twitching;
- redness, irritation, bleeding, and swelling of the gums;
- skin rash;
- slurred speech;
- sore throat;
- stomach pain;
- swollen glands;
- tiny purple-colored skin spots;
- unusual bleeding;
- upset stomach;
- weight loss;
- yellowing of the skin or eyes;