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Why is this medication prescribed?
Phenytoin is used to treat various types of convulsions and seizures. Phenytoin acts on the brain and nervous system in the treatment of epilepsy.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
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. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take phenytoin exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
Shake the liquid well before each use.
Do not open, crush, or chew the extended-release capsules; swallow them whole.
Continue to take phenytoin even if you feel well. Do not stop taking phenytoin without talking to your doctor, especially if you have taken large doses for a long time. Abruptly stopping the drug can cause seizures. Your doctor probably will decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
Phenytoin also is used to control arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) and to treat migraine headaches and facial nerve pain.
Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this drug for your condition.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking phenytoin,
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Phenytoin may cause an upset stomach. Take phenytoin with food. If you are on enteral feeding, it is best to take phenytoin 2 hours before or after the enteral feeding. Drink plenty of water when taking this medicine.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Side effects from phenytoin are common. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature, away from excess heat and moisture (not in 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.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor will order certain lab tests to check your response to phenytoin.
Phenytoin capsules and tablets (and different brands of phenytoin) have different effects. Do not change brands of phenytoin without talking to your doctor.
Call your doctor if you continue to have seizures or convulsions while taking this medication.
If you give this drug to a child, observe and keep a record of the child's moods, behavior, attention span, hand-eye coordination, and ability to solve problems and perform tasks requiring thought. Ask the child's teacher to keep a similar record. This information can help the child's doctor determine whether to continue the drug or to change the dose or drug.
Wear identification (Medic Alert) indicating medication use and epilepsy.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT