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Phenytoin Suspension

Generic Name: Phenytoin Suspension (FEN i toyn)
Brand Name: Dilantin

Uses of Phenytoin Suspension:

  • It is used to help control certain kinds of seizures.
  • It may be given to you for other reasons. Talk with the doctor.

What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Phenytoin Suspension?

  • If you have an allergy to phenytoin or any other part of phenytoin suspension.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • If you are taking delavirdine.
  • If you have had liver problems in the past while taking this medicine.
  • If you are breast-feeding or plan to breast-feed.

This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with phenytoin suspension.

Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.

What are some things I need to know or do while I take Phenytoin Suspension?

  • Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how phenytoin suspension affects you.
  • Very bad and sometimes deadly skin reactions (Stevens-Johnson syndrome/toxic epidermal necrolysis) have happened with this medicine. People of Asian descent are most likely to get these. Get medical help right away if you have signs like red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin (with or without fever); red or irritated eyes; or sores in your mouth, throat, nose, or eyes.
  • Patients who take phenytoin suspension may be at a greater risk of having thoughts or actions of suicide. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
  • Lymph node problems like cancer have happened in people taking this medicine. It is not known if phenytoin suspension may be the cause. Talk with your doctor if you have swollen glands.
  • Have the level of phenytoin in your blood checked as you have been told by your doctor. If the level is too high, some side effects may happen. This includes a type of brain problem that may not go back to normal. Talk with your doctor.
  • This medicine may cause weak bones. This may happen more often if used for a long time. This may raise the chance of broken bones. Call your doctor right away if you have bone pain.
  • If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely. Tell your doctor if you get signs of high blood sugar like confusion, feeling sleepy, more thirst, more hungry, passing urine more often, flushing, fast breathing, or breath that smells like fruit.
  • If you are 65 or older, use this medicine with care. You could have more side effects.
  • Birth control pills and other hormone-based birth control may not work as well to prevent pregnancy. Use some other kind of birth control also like a condom when taking phenytoin suspension.
  • This medicine may cause harm to the unborn baby if you take it while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant or you get pregnant while taking this medicine, call your doctor right away.
  • A bleeding problem that can be life-threatening may happen in newborns if you took phenytoin suspension during pregnancy. Talk with your doctor.

How is this medicine (Phenytoin Suspension) best taken?

Use this medicine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.

  • Take with or without food. Take with food if it causes an upset stomach.
  • Take phenytoin suspension at the same time of day.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Keep taking this medicine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
  • Do not stop taking phenytoin suspension all of a sudden without calling your doctor. You may have a greater risk of seizures. If you need to stop this drug, you will want to slowly stop it as ordered by your doctor.
  • Do not take antacids at the same time as this medicine. Ask your doctor if you have a question about how to take antacids with phenytoin suspension.
  • If this medicine is given through a feeding tube, stop tube feeding for 2 hours before giving phenytoin suspension. Restart tube feeding 2 hours after giving.
  • Shake well before use.
  • Measure liquid doses carefully. Use the measuring device that comes with this medicine. If there is none, ask the pharmacist for a device to measure phenytoin suspension.
  • This medicine interacts with many other drugs. The chance of this medicine's side effects may be raised or how well phenytoin suspension works may be lowered. The chance of the other drugs' side effects may also be raised. This may include very bad, life-threatening, or deadly side effects. Check with your doctor and pharmacist to make sure that it is safe for you to take this medicine with all of your other drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins).
  • Tell all of your health care providers that you take phenytoin suspension. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
  • Talk with your doctor before you drink alcohol or use other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Have blood work checked as you have been told by the doctor. Talk with the doctor.
  • This medicine may affect certain lab tests. Tell all of your health care providers and lab workers that you take this medicine.
  • Wear disease medical alert ID (identification).
  • Follow laws about driving with a seizure problem.
  • Do not switch brands or types of phenytoin suspension (like tablets, liquid) unless you talk with the doctor. They may not work the same.
  • Take good care of your teeth. See a dentist often.

What do I do if I miss a dose?

  • Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
  • If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
  • Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.

Dosage Information (comprehensive)

What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?

WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Change in balance.
  • Trouble walking.
  • Feeling confused.
  • Slurred speech.
  • Swollen or sore gums.
  • Very bad muscle pain.
  • Trouble controlling body movements.
  • If seizures are worse or not the same after starting this medicine.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Not able to control eye movements.
  • Shakiness.
  • A very bad and sometimes deadly effect has happened in people taking drugs for seizures like phenytoin suspension. Call your doctor right away if you have swollen glands; fever; rash; chest pain; unable to pass urine or change in the amount of urine passed; or signs of liver problems like dark urine, feeling tired, not hungry, upset stomach or stomach pain, light-colored stools, throwing up, or yellow skin or eyes.
  • Rarely, certain blood problems have happened with this medicine. This can lead to bleeding problems or infections. Sometimes, these have been deadly. Tell your doctor right away if you have signs of infection like fever, chills, very bad sore throat, ear or sinus pain, cough, more sputum or change in color of sputum, pain with passing urine, mouth sores, or a wound that will not heal. Tell your doctor right away if you have any unexplained bruising or bleeding, or if you feel very tired or weak.

What are some other side effects of Phenytoin Suspension?

All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:

  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Headache.
  • Feeling nervous and excitable.
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.

These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Side Effects (complete list)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Phenytoin Suspension?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Protect from light.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Do not freeze.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to throw out unused drugs.

Consumer Information Use and Disclaimer

  • If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
  • Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time phenytoin suspension is refilled. If you have any questions about this medicine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take phenytoin suspension or any other medicine. Only the healthcare provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for a specific patient. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to phenytoin suspension. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from the healthcare provider. You must talk with the healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

Review Date: November 1, 2017

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