Dilantin | Phenytoin Sodium Side Effects

Modified on 2009/10/14 21:42 by admin
Updated 15 May, 2007

Dilantin, also known as phenytoin sodium, is an anti-convulsant that, historically, has been indicated for the treatment of grand mal seizures (characterized by a sudden loss of consciousness followed by convulsions) and temporal lobe seizures (which affect smell, taste, hearing, memory and movement). The medication may also be used to prevent seizures following neurosurgery.

Acting on the brain and nervous system in the treatment of epilepsy, Dilantin is available in capsule, tablet and liquid form. The drug was introduced in 1982 and is made by Parke-Davis, a division of Pfizer Inc.

Since its introduction on the market, however,  Dilantin, in combination with other drugs, has been associated with certain cases of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and Toxic Epidermal Necrosis Syndrome (TENS) ... both of them debilitating skin conditions that can lead to life threatening or fatal infections. Among other combinations, the FDA has established links between Dilantin and SJS when Dilantin is used in conjunction with valproate and oxcarbazepine, both of which cause the accumulation of toxic levels of phenytoin.

In a recent study, conducted by Dr. Kimford J. Meador of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Dilantin may further be implicated as a contributory factor in the low IQs of infant children.

In this most recent study, the IQs of a hundred and eighty-five  2-year-olds whose mothers had taken one of four epilepsy drugs while pregnant were compared.

These were Dilantin (phenytoin), valproate, carbamazepine (sold as Tegretol) and lamotrigine (Lamictal).

As a baseline, Researchers normally assign a score of 100 as average and below 70 as mentally impaired. Statistically, an average of 2% of all children are born with IQs below 70 in the general population.

Children whose mothers had taken Dilantin had an average IQ of 95, children whose mothers used valproate had an average IQ of 81. Children in the carbamazepine group had an IQ of 96 and children in the lamotrigine group a 94.

Fully twelve percent of children whose mothers took Dilantin had IQs below 70 compared to twenty-four percent of children whose mothers took valproate, thirteen percent for carbamazepine, and eleven percent for lamotrigine.

Although Dilantin was not implicated by this study as the "worst offender", it was identified as a potential contributor to adverse prenatal side effects.

Other side effects of Dilantin use include, but may not be limited to, drowsiness, irritation, bleeding, swelling of the gums, upset stomach, vomiting, constipation, stomach pain, loss of taste and appetite, weight loss, difficulty swallowing, insomnia, headache and increased hair growth. Serious side effects may include fever, unusual bleeding or bruising, yellowing of the skin or eyes and loss of coordination. Dilantin has also been associated with the development of Stevens-Johnson syndrome.

Dilantin and birth defects: Dilantin may be addictive, and a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the drug might cause birth defects. If you are taking Dilantin or other drugs for epilepsy and seizures, it may be important to talk to your doctor about the possibility of birth defects in your offspring. If your child was born with a birth defect and you suspect that Dilantin may be to blame, it may be important to contact an attorney who can help you protect your legal rights. Please keep in mind that there may be time limits within which you must commence suit.

See Also

  1. Epilepsy Drugs: Overview
  2. Addiction: Overview
  3. Birth Defects
  4. Bruises: Overview
  5. Excessive Bleeding: Overview
  6. Headaches
  7. Severe Constipation: Overview
  8. Sleep Disorders: Overview
  9. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome / Erythema Multiforme
  Name Size