Medication Information Card Phenytoin (Fen – ee – to – in) Other names for this medication How this medication is used
This medication is used to control or prevent seizures.
This medication may also be used for some types of pain.
How to take this medication
Take this medication exactly as directed by your doctor. It must be taken regularly, even if you feel well.
If you miss a dose of the medication, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular time. Do not take 2 doses at one time.
It is important that you see your doctor regularly while taking this medication. Do not stop taking this medication without checking with your doctor first.
Tell all of your doctors that you are taking phenytoin.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all the medications you take, even the ones you buy without a prescription.
You should visit your dentist to have your gums checked every 3 months while you are taking this medication.
How to take this medication (continued)
To avoid stomach upset, take this medication with a meal or snack.
This medication will prevent oral contraceptives (birth control pills) to not work properly. To avoid unwanted pregnancy, talk to your doctor about using another form of birth control.
The capsules should be swallowed whole with a glass of water or other liquid.
Shake the bottle well before pouring each dose. Ask your pharmacist how to accurately measure this medication.
While taking this medication you may notice
• drowsiness • dizziness • nausea and vomiting • constipation • an increase in hair growth of your face or body
This medication increases the effect of alcohol making you more sleepy, dizzy and lightheaded. Do not drink alcohol such as wine, beer or liquor while on this medication.
To avoid feeling dizzy get up slowly when you have been sitting or lying down. If you feel dizzy, sit or lie down until you are no longer dizzy, then get up slowly.
Until you know how this medication affects you, do not drive or operate machinery.
To prevent constipation, eat food high in fibre, drink 6 to 8 glasses of liquid each day and exercise regularly. Food high in fibre includes whole grain products, vegetables and fruit.
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Contact your doctor if you notice
• muscle weakness or extreme tiredness • a change in coordination • slurred speech • confusion • mood or mental changes • increased frequency of seizures • you are very nervous, excited or irritable • bleeding, tender or enlarged gums • fever or sore throat • skin rash
St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton, 2007
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