(1) Clinical uses. Phenytoin is used alone or in combination with phenobarbital in the treatment of grand mal and psychomotor epilepsy. It is also used in the treatment of other types of convulsions.
(2) Adverse effects. Adverse effects associated with phenytoin include ataxia (lack of muscular coordination, staggering walk), nystagmus (a rapid, involuntary movement of the eyeball), and slurred speech. Drowsiness and fatigue may accompany these adverse effects in some patients by tremors and nervousness and in others.
(3) Caution and warning. Drug interactions can occur between phenytoin and alcohol, barbiturates, folic acid, coumarin-type anticoagulants, disulfirams, the sulfonamides, and sympathomimetic agents. Phenytoin should be used cautiously with patients who are alcoholics or who have blood dyscrasias.
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