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Dilantin is an anticonvulsant drug that can help control grand mal (tonic-clonic) and complex partial seizures, as well as those that may occur during or after neurosurgery. This is an extended formula that can be administered to children 6 years of age up to adults. Dosing is determined by your doctor depending on age, weight, and severity of your seizures.
There are proteins called ion channels, located on the surface of nerve cells in your brain allow the positively charged sodium ions to cross from outside of the nerve cell to the inside. As the sodium charged ions move around inside the nerve cells, the electrical field is altered which changes the rate of the nerve cells firing.
Dilantin works by interfering with this process resulting in slowing down the uncontrolled electrical activity to stop or prevent nerve cells from misfiring and causing a seizure. This medication will not cure your seizures, but can control them so you are able to carry on with daily activities safely.
A grand mal seizure, also known as a tonic-clonic seizure causes a person to lose consciousness and fall to the ground. The body becomes rigid for a short time before the convulsion starts and can last one to two minutes. When the convulsion or seizure ends, the body goes limp and consciousness is regained soon after. These types of seizures can be dangerous as they can happen before the person has time to find a safe place where harm can be minimized from the fall.
A complex partial seizure does not cause a person to lose consciousness, but instead displays as automatisms. These are purposeful movements, such as fist clenching, moving the mouth, and even walking and talking. It is as if someone else is controlling their body. They don’t respond when spoken to or may respond with nonsensical answers.
Dilantin may also be prescribed to treat severe pain in the lips, gums, cheek, chin or eye caused by a disorder of the nerves in the face called trigeminal neuralgia. Dilantin should only be used to treat this condition in people who can't take a medicine called Carbamazepine, or for people in whom Carbamazepine is ineffective.
Provide your doctor with medical information concerning other conditions you have or any Rx medications, OTC products, and herbal remedies or vitamin supplements you are taking. This will help your doctor to determine if Dilantin is the right medicine for your situation. If you are pregnant, plan on becoming pregnant, or are breast-feeding, ask your doctor about the safety of taking Dilantin.
Dilantin makes hormonal contraceptives that contain estrogen and/or progesterone ineffective at preventing pregnancy. It is important for women who could get pregnant to discuss pregnancy and methods of contraception with their doctor before starting treatment with this medicine. You should operate a vehicle or machinery until you know how your body reacts to Dilantin.