Dilantin Side Effects

by on March 13, 2012

Dilantin has been approved for use in the treatment of seizures for more than 60 years. A variety of side effects have been experienced by different users, often depending on the condition Dilantin is prescribed to treat as well as the recommended dosage. Most side effects are mild, including headache, nausea, and changes in sleep patterns, but a few patients suffer from more severe side effects of Dilantin, such as bleeding gums, gum overgrowth, or suicidal tendencies.

Common Dilantin Side Effects

The most common Dilantin side effects are usually mild for most users and typically only last for a short time. These symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Drowsiness
  • Nervousness
  • Constipation
  • Excess hair growth

If you experience any of these side effects and they persist or become worse, contact your doctor. Another common, but bothersome side effect of Dilantin is swelling and bleeding of the gums. Regular brushing and flossing will help to prevent or minimize this problem.

Serious Dilantin Side Effects

DilantinA small number of patients may experience more severe side effects and will usually require immediate medical attention. These side effects are rare, but are still risks that users should be aware of. If you have any of the symptoms below, contact your doctor immediately:

  • Abnormal body movements
  • Loss of balance or coordination
  • Uncontrollable eye movements
  • Slurred speech
  • Pain in the penis
  • Changes in facial features
  • Confusion
  • Tingling or twitches
  • Fever
  • Flu like symptoms
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • An erection lasting more than 4 hours
  • Extreme mood or behavior changes

Even in the case of serious side effects, never stop your treatment without consulting your doctor. Many individuals experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop taking Dilantin. Let your physician know about the side effects you’re experiencing. He or she may gradually wean you from Dilantin and change your medication to something more suitable. Simply lowering the dosage of Dilantin may be all that is needed.

Allergic Reactions to Dilantin

Allergic reactions to Dilantin are rare but can be very serious. Individuals who are allergic to other hydantoin medications or to the generic drug carbamazepine are at a higher risk of adverse Dilantin side effects. In some cases, your doctor may perform a lab test to determine if carbamazepine sensitivities are present. If you are taking Dilantin and experience any symptoms of an allergic reaction, including fever, a skin rash, swelling of the tongue, face, or throat, extreme dizziness, and shortness of breath, seek emergency care immediately.

Mental Health

Some patients taking Dilantin experience extreme changes in their mental health and wellbeing. Psychiatric side effects can affect Dilantin users as young as 5 years old and should always be reported to the patient’s primary care physician. These symptoms include:

  • Aggressive or violent behavior
  • Extreme irritability that becomes worse over time
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Mania or overly excited behavior
  • Dangerously impulsive behavior
  • Withdrawal
  • Insomnia
  • Other unusual changes in behavior

One of the most serious side effects of Dilantin is suicidal thoughts or actions. About one out of every 500 Dilantin users will develop suicidal feelings or behaviors during their treatment, sometimes as early as the first week. Both adult and children patients are at risk. If you or a loved one is taking Dilantin and experiencing abnormal thoughts, moods, or behaviors, contact your doctor immediately.

Dilantin has been an effective way to control seizures in epileptic individuals for many years. Most users do not suffer from any serious side effects while taking Dilantin, but a few of the potential risks can be severe. A new FDA warning indicates that Dilantin may also increase the risk of Purple Glove Syndrome, a potentially serious skin disease that could result in amputation of the extremities. Discuss your personal risks and benefits associated with taking Dilantin with your doctor to choose the treatment plan that is right for you.