Compare Dilantin vs. Depakote

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Dilantin
(Phenytoin)

Depacon
(Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)

Prevents seizures. Dilantin (Phenytoin) is effective at preventing seizures, but has many drug interactions and side effects. If your blood tests show that you have the right amount of Dilantin (Phenytoin) levels, you’ll have a lower chance of getting side effects.Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is good long-term prevention for epilepsy, bipolar disorder, and migraines, but can cause weight gain.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex)
46%
37% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
39%
28% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
27%
27% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
Side effects
DilantinDepakote

We haven’t found good data for Dilantin side effects.

FDA side effect reports for Dilantin »
  • Nausea 34%
  • Muscle weakness 20%
  • Vomiting 20%
  • Abdominal pain 17%
  • Dizziness 12%
  • Headache 10%
  • Double vision 7%
  • Involuntary eye movement 7%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 7%
  • Accidental injury 6%
More Depakote side effects »
How it works
DilantinDepakote
Dilantin (Phenytoin) is an antiepileptic medication. It prevents seizures by stabilizing brain cells and lowering abnormal communication within the brain.Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works. It seems to increase the amount of GABA, a chemical that calms nerves in the brain.
Type of medication
DilantinDepakote
Anticonvulsant
Hydantoin
Prescription only
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Available as
DilantinDepakote
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Extended release capsule
  • Sprinkle
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
DilantinDepakote
Risk factors for serious side effects
DilantinDepakote
  • People of Asian ancestry
  • Starting Dilantin (Phenytoin) within the first two months
  • Infusing Dilantin (Phenytoin) too fast
    • History of depression
    • History of osteoporosis
    • History of fractures
    • Stopping Dilantin (Phenytoin) suddenly
    Detailed Dilantin (Phenytoin) risks & warnings »
      • Children under age 2
      • History of metabolic disorders
        • History of depression
          • History of metabolic disorders
          • People also taking Topamax
          • People also taking Topamax
            • Stopping Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) suddenly
            Detailed Depacon (Valproate, Valproic Acid, Or Divalproex) risks & warnings »
            Pregnancy category
            DilantinDepakote
            DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            DFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

            Research studies with real people found harmful effects on unborn babies, but the benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

            See the FDA package insert
            Alcohol
            No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
            Food
            No specific food-related info.
            • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
            Kidneys and liver
            • If you have kidney problems, your dose and kidney function will have to be checked regularly to make sure Dilantin (Phenytoin) levels don’t get too high.
            No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
            Sex
            No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
            Sleep
            No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
            Weight
            No specific weight-related info.
            • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
            • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
            Upsides and benefits
            DilantinDepakote
            • Dilantin (Phenytoin) is effective at preventing seizures, and treating seizures in an emergency.
            • Available in an oral suspension and chewable tablets if you have trouble swallowing capsules.
            • Available as a generic.
            • Lowers the frequency of seizures, especially for people with absence, tonic-clonic, and complex partial seizures.
            • One of the first-line options to stabilize mood for people with bipolar disorder.
            • Helpful in preventing frequent migraine headaches.
            Downsides and risks
            DilantinDepakote
            • Need to get blood tests regularly to make sure Dilantin (Phenytoin) has safe and effective levels in your body.
            • Can cause changes in your appearance, such as unwanted hair growth, enlargement of the gums, and coarsening of your facial features.
            • If you have kidney problems, your dose and kidney function will have to be checked regularly to make sure Dilantin (Phenytoin) levels don’t get too high.
            • Can make many other medicines less effective, including birth control.
            • Can cause upset stomach, hair loss, weight gain, sleepiness, and tremor.
            • Can cause liver damage, so it's probably not safe if you already have liver problems.
            • Not safe to use if you're pregnant.
            • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
            Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
            DilantinDepakote
            • Can cause loss of coordination, confusion, uncontrollable eye movements, and unwanted hair growth while on this.
            • If you’re taking supplements, let your doctor know. You’ll likely have to space out the supplements and Dilantin (Phenytoin) so they don’t interact.
            • If you start having skin rashes or thoughts of suicide, tell your doctor immediately.
            • Makes many drugs less effective, so make sure your doctor has a complete list of what you’re taking.
            • If you need to stop taking Dilantin (Phenytoin), do so over at least one week to prevent withdrawal seizures.
            • For the first week, avoid activities that require you to be alert.
            • Don't use if pregnant.
            • Requires routine blood tests.
            • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
            • May cause hair loss and weight gain.
            • Different versions of Depakote have different dosing. Be careful.
            • Report confusion, persistent abdominal pain, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising to your doctor.
            • Takes 3 to 4 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
            Learn more
            More about DilantinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
            More about DepakoteSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert