What is Dilantin?

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What is Dilantin?
Dilantin has the generic name of Phenytoin and is often referred to as an anticonvulsant. It is an anti-epileptic drug in which the main mechanism is to delay impulses in the brain that may cause seizures. Seizures are sudden malfunctions of the brain that may cause a patient to convulse, collapse, or have loss or change in consciousness. Occurrence of seizures may indicate that one has epilepsy.

There are a number of possible side effects in using Dilantin though. Serious side effects that need immediate medical attention include: difficulty in breathing, tremors or uncontrolled shaking, confusion, suicidal and/or unusual thoughts or behavioral changes, depression, restlessness, anxiety, physical or mental hyperactivity, jaundice (yellowing of the eyes or skin), loss of balance or coordination, loss of appetite or the exact opposite which is extreme thirst or hunger. Minor side effects include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, mild skin itching, headache, and joint pain. Patients should seek immediate medical advice if side effects occur after taking Dilantin (Phenytoin).

When using Phenytoins, safety precautions must be taken especially by patients with Diabetes, as the drug has an effect on sugar levels. For patients with liver disease, monitoring is important because of a high chance of toxicity. Phenytoins also interfere with the metabolism of Vitamin D, so patients with vitamin deficiency must discuss his condition with his doctor.

Dilantin has to be taken with food. One should take this medication as prescribed or at the right dosage. This should not be taken longer than the time advised by the doctor. When taking the pill, it should be swallowed whole. It is not advisable to break, chew, or open the capsule since it is specifically made to slowly release the medicine in the body. Opening or separating the capsule will cause the release of a higher amount of the drug at one time which may lead to complications. Regular blood testing may be needed to ensure that the medication is effective in alleviating the patient’s symptoms.

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