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Dilantin is an anticonvulsant used to treat seizures. However, it is not suitable for treating every type of seizure.

Read any instructions that come with this medication carefully, and always follow your doctor's instructions.

  • Do not break/crush/chew the extended-release capsule
  • Infatabs chewable tablets must be taken 2-3 times a day; consult with your doctor
  • Shake the liquid medication before dosing; use given dosing device
  • Blood tests may be required frequently
  • Tell your doctor if seizures don't improve
  • If you miss a dose, make up for it as soon as you are able, but if it's almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose
  • Store at room temperature away from light, heat, moisture


General precautions:

  • Tell your doctor as soon as possible if you are pregnant or become pregnant
  • Some patients may experience suicidal thoughts while taking Dilantin
  • If you have taken this medication during pregnancy, alert the doctor who delivers your baby
  • Dilantin may cause birth control pills to be less effective; use other non-hormonal birth control methods such as condoms and diaphragm
  • DO NOT stop using Dilantin even if you think your symptoms are improving
  • Wear medical ID that says you have seizures in case of emergency
  • Practice good dental hygiene; Dilantin may cause gum swelling; visit dentist often
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience an overdose; it may be fatal (see below)
  • Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Dilantin
  • Avoid driving or any activity that requires alertness before you know how Dilantin affects you

Before starting this medication, inform your doctor if you have experienced the following:

  • If you take delavirdine
  • Liver disease
  • Diabetes
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • Vitamin D deficiency; thinning of bones
  • Porphyria
  • Asian ancestry - you will need a special blood test
  • If you are allergic to phenytoin, ethotoin, fosphenytoin, or mephenytoin
  • If you are pregnant: DO NOT start on this medication without doctor's consent; if you become pregnant, DO NOT STOP taking this medication without doctor's consent
  • Consult with your doctor if you breastfeed/plan to breastfeed

Do not use this medication if you have experienced the following:

  • Liver issues caused by phenytoin
  • If you are allergic to Dilantin
  • If you are allergic to similar medications like ethotoin, fosDilantin, or meDilantin
  • If you also take delavirdine

Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:

  • An overdose; symptoms include: twitching eyes, slurred speech, imbalance, tremors, stiff or weak muscles, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, fainting, slow/shallow breaths
  • Suicidal urges
  • Symptoms of an allergic reaction: hives, breathing difficulty, swollen face/lips/tongue/throat
  • Symptoms of a severe skin reaction, such as: fever, sore throat, burning in eyes, pain in skin, red/purple rash that spreads/blisters/peels
  • Any reaction that affects multiple body parts, like: rash, fever, swollen glands, msucle aches, severe eakness, unusual bruising, yellowing of skin/eyes

Contact your doctor right away if you encounter the following:

  • Any indication of skin rash, even mild
  • Fever, chills, sore throat, swollen glands
  • Red/swollen gums, mouth sores
  • Liver issues, such as: appetite loss, pain in upper stomach, dark urine, clay color stool, yellowing of skin/eyes
  • Easy bruising, unusual bleeding, purple/red spots under skin

Interactions (inform your doctor if you also take these):

  • Any drug that contains phenytoin, a common ingredient
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Avoid antacids
  • Over-the-counter drugs such as: cimetidine, omeprazole, St. John's Wort, vitamins/supplements that contain folic acid
  • Always inform your doctor of all drugs you are taking, including over-the-counter meds, vitamins, supplements, and herbs, and any medical conditions and allergies you may have prior to starting a new medication

Side Effects

Common side effects include:

  • Drowsiness, delirium
  • Slurred speech
  • Unusual eye movement
  • Balance issues
  • Muscle movement issues

Discuss with your doctor side effects such as:

  • Mood/behavior changes, such as: anxiety, panic attacks, sleep trouble, impulsiveness, irritability, agression, restlessness, hyperactivity (mental and/or physical), depression, thoughts of suicide
  • New or worsening symptoms

Seek immediate medical attention if:

(see Cautions)

Contact your doctor immediately if:

(see Cautions)

Please note that this page does not describe every possible effect. Other effects may occur. Please consult with your doctor about the relevance of this page to your personal circumstance.

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