Epilepsy Home > Dilantin

Dilantin is a prescription medicine that is used for the treatment of certain types of epileptic seizures. Specifically, it is used to treat complex partial seizures, generalized tonic-clonic seizures, and seizures during brain surgery. Dilantin comes in extended-release capsules, chewable tablets, and an oral suspension. Some possible side effects of the medication include confusion, slurred speech, and unusual eye movements.

What Is Dilantin?

Dilantin® (phenytoin) is a prescription medication used to treat certain types of seizures in people with epilepsy. There are several different Dilantin products: Dilantin Kapseals® (phenytoin sodium extended-release capsules), Dilantin Infatabs® (phenytoin chewable tablets) and Dilantin-125® (phenytoin oral suspension, or liquid). Specifically, Dilantin is approved to control the following types of seizures:
  • Complex partial seizures -- complex partial seizures involve decreased consciousness ("complex") and affect only one part of the brain ("partial")
  • Generalized tonic-clonic seizures -- these seizures, which are also known as "grand mal" seizures, affect the whole brain ("generalized"), and involve muscle rigidity and contractions ("tonic-clonic")
  • Seizures during brain surgery.
(Click Dilantin Uses for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Dilantin?

It is made by Pfizer.

How Does It Work?

Epilepsy is a brain disorder that occurs when there are recurring, brief changes in how the brain's electrical system works. These changes in brain activity can lead to a seizure (see Epilepsy Symptoms).
Dilantin works by affecting sodium channels in the brain. It does not prevent abnormal brain activity from starting; instead, it prevents the abnormal activity from spreading to other parts of the brain. This action helps control seizures.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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