Dilantin (phenytoin)

Joseph T. Ho jtho at neuron.neurosurgery.washington.edu
Tue Oct 29 02:26:34 EST 1996

I've only been in med school for 5 weeks, but after doing a quick search on
the net and looking at my pharmacology book, here's what I've found.  I don't
think it is produced naturally.  There are other anticonvulsants out there.
The actual name of the drug that is sold under the brand name Dilantin is
phenytoin.  According to my pharmacology book, carbamazepine is often used in
conjunction with phenytoin in the treatment of grand mal epilepsy.  Other
drugs it lists as antiseizure agents for generalized seizures includes the
deoxybarbiturates (e.g. primidone) and the benzodiazapines.

Here is an excerpt regarding Dilantin from

Phenytoin is an anticonvulsant drug which can be useful in the treatment of
epilepsy. The primary site of action appears to be the motor cortex where
spread of seizure activity is inhibited. Possibly by promoting sodium efflux
from neurons, phenytoin tends to stabilize the threshold against
hyperexcitability caused by excessive stimulation or environmental changes
capable of reducing membrane sodium gradient. This includes the reduction of
posttetanic potentiation at synapses. Loss of posttetanic potentiation
prevents cortical seizure foci from detonating adjacent cortical
areas. Phenytoin reduces the maximal activity of brain stem centers
responsible for the tonic phase of tonic-clonic (grand mal) seizures.

Joseph T. Ho, MS I                                     jtho at u.washington.edu
School of Medicine                                  University of Washington

Bruce Macdonell (brick at MNSi.net) wrote:
: 	A recipient of emergency neurosurgery in the late summer of 
: 91' to have a bloodclot removed. I have many outstanding side-effects. 
: A new found detrument as a result of my accident/surgery are chronic 
: seizures. I have been tested repeatedly for epilepsy; however the 
: results show no sign of this to be the case. My neurologist indicates 
: that the seizures are brought on by scar-tissue build-up, which 
: interferes with firing neurons. The neurologist recommended 300mg of 
: dilantin daily. The dilantin is a terrible substitute for what-ever it 
: is that my body is lacking. I would like a more user friendly drug. Can 
: somebody recommend a less traumatic alternative? One other thing; Is 
: dilantin produced naturally in the body? And if so ; where?

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