Phenytoin Disease Interactions
There are 10 disease interactions with phenytoin:
- Blood Dyscrasias
- Liver Disease
- Renal Dysfunction
- Suicidal Tendency
- Megaloblastic Anemia
- Thyroid Function Tests
Hematologic toxicities have been associated with the use of hydantoin anticonvulsants, particularly mephenytoin. Thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, neutropenia, agranulocytosis, pancytopenia and, rarely, hemolytic anemia, aplastic anemia and pure red cell aplasia have been reported. Therapy with hydantoin anticonvulsants should be administered cautiously in patients with preexisting blood dyscrasias and/or bone marrow depression. Complete blood counts, including platelets, should be performed prior to initiating therapy and regularly for several months thereafter. For mephenytoin, the manufacturer recommends performing counts after 2 weeks on a low dosage, after another 2 weeks when full dosage is reached, then monthly for a year, and every 3 months thereafter. Marked depression of blood counts may be indication for withdrawal of hydantoin therapy.
Hydantoin anticonvulsants are primarily metabolized by the liver. Both metabolic activity and plasma protein binding may be significantly altered in patients with liver disease, resulting in elevated drug levels (total and unbound fraction) and increased risk of toxicity. Therapy with hydantoin anticonvulsants should be administered cautiously in patients with impaired hepatic function. Reduced dosages and slower titration may be necessary. In addition, periodic monitoring of liver function is recommended, since the use of anticonvulsants, including hydantoins, has been associated with hepatotoxicity related to drug hypersensitivity. Hepatic failure and death have occurred. Hydantoin therapy should be discontinued and not readministered if evidence of liver damage is observed and felt to be drug-related.
The use of phenytoin has rarely been associated with exacerbation of porphyria. Therapy with phenytoin should be administered cautiously in patients with porphyria. The same precaution should also be observed with other hydantoin anticonvulsants (i.e. ethotoin and mephenytoin) because of their structural and pharmacological similarities to phenytoin.
The plasma protein binding of phenytoin may be significantly decreased in patients with renal impairment, resulting in elevated free drug concentrations and increased risk of toxicity. This effect is proportional to the degree of renal impairment and stems from quantitative differences in serum albumin as well as qualitative differences in the ability to bind phenytoin. Therapy with phenytoin should be administered cautiously in patients with impaired renal function. Both the therapeutic and toxic plasma total phenytoin levels may be lower than normal in these patients and should be considered in dosing. Alternatively, the monitoring of unbound phenytoin concentrations may be appropriate.
The intravenous administration of phenytoin or its prodrug, fosphenytoin, is contraindicated in patients with sinus bradycardia, sino-atrial block, second and third degree AV block, and patients with Adam-Stokes syndrome. Severe cardiotoxic reactions related to depression of atrial and ventricular conduction and ventricular fibrillation have been reported with parenteral phenytoin, primarily in elderly or gravely ill patients. Hypotension and cardiovascular collapse have also been reported, usually when the drug was administered too rapidly. Therapy with intravenous phenytoin or fosphenytoin should be administered cautiously in patients with hypotension or severe myocardial insufficiency, particularly if they are elderly or seriously ill. The rate of injection should not exceed manufacturer recommendations and should be adjusted based on the patient's cardiovascular status.
Antiepileptic drugs (AEDs) have been associated with an increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior in patients taking these drugs for any indication. Pooled analyses of 199 placebo-controlled clinical studies involving the use of 11 different AEDs across multiple indications in either monotherapy or adjunctive therapy for a median treatment duration of 12 weeks (up to a maximum of 24 weeks) showed that patients receiving AEDs had approximately twice the risk of suicidal thinking or behavior compared to patients receiving placebo. The estimated rate of suicidal behavior or ideation among 27,863 AED-treated patients was 0.43%, compared to 0.24% for 16,029 placebo-treated patients, representing an increase of approximately one case for every 530 patients treated. There were four suicides in AED-treated patients and none in placebo-treated patients, although the number is too small to establish any causal relationship. The increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behavior was observed as early as one week after starting AEDs and persisted for the duration of treatment assessed. The risk did not vary substantially by age (5 to 100 years) in the clinical trials analyzed. Therapy with AEDs should be administered cautiously in patients with depression or other psychiatric disorders. The risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior should be carefully assessed against the risk of untreated illness, bearing in mind that epilepsy and many other conditions for which AEDs are prescribed are themselves associated with morbidity and mortality and an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior. Patients, caregivers, and families should be alert to the emergence or worsening of signs and symptoms of depression, any unusual changes in mood or behavior, or the emergence of suicidal thoughts or behavior. For clinically significant or persistent symptoms, a dosage reduction or treatment withdrawal should be considered. If patients have symptoms of suicidal ideation or behavior, treatment should be discontinued.
Phenytoin, particularly in high dosages, may cause hyperglycemia by inhibiting insulin release. The drug may also raise serum glucose levels in diabetic patients. Therapy with phenytoin should be administered cautiously in patients with diabetes mellitus, glucose intolerance, or a predisposition to hyperglycemia. Patients with diabetes mellitus should be monitored more closely during phenytoin therapy, and their antidiabetic regimen adjusted accordingly. The same precautions should also be observed with other hydantoin anticonvulsants (i.e. ethotoin and mephenytoin) because of their structural and pharmacological similarities to phenytoin.
Hydantoin anticonvulsants may interfere with folate metabolism and precipitate macrocytosis and megaloblastic anemia, which usually respond to folic acid therapy. These reactions have been fairly uncommon but may be of concern in patients with megaloblastic anemia or folate deficiency receiving hydantoin therapy.
Phenytoin may interfere with vitamin D metabolism. Hypocalcemia and osteomalacia have been reported. Therapy with phenytoin should be administered cautiously in patients with preexisting vitamin D deficiency. The same precaution should also be observed with other hydantoin anticonvulsants (i.e. ethotoin and mephenytoin) because of their structural and pharmacological similarities to phenytoin.
Phenytoin may decrease serum PBI (protein-bound iodine) levels without associated thyroid disturbance. Free thyroxine concentrations may also be decreased, while resin or red cell T3 uptake values may be increased. Clinicians should be cognizant of these effects when prescribing or administering phenytoin therapy to patients with thyroid disorders.
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Drug Interaction Classification
The classifications below are a general guideline only. It is difficult to determine the relevance of a particular drug interaction to any individual given the large number of variables.
|Major||Highly clinically significant. Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.|
|Moderate||Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.|
|Minor||Minimally clinically significant. Minimize risk; assess risk and consider an alternative drug, take steps to circumvent the interaction risk and/or institute a monitoring plan.|
Do not stop taking any medications without consulting your healthcare provider.
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