Compare Dilantin vs. Keppra

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

Dilantin
(Phenytoin)

Keppra
(Levetiracetam)

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. Keppra (Levetiracetam) is effective for preventing seizures in people with epilepsy. Compared to other anti-seizure medications, it has few drug interactions and you don’t need to get your levels checked.
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Reviews & ratings
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Side effects
DilantinKeppra

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

FDA side effect reports for Dilantin »
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Nasal congestion 7%
  • Muscle weakness 6%
  • Neck pain 6%
  • Decreased appetite 6%
  • Fatigue 6%
  • Infection 5%
  • Aggression 5%
  • Dizziness 5%
  • Headache 4%
More Keppra side effects »
How it works
DilantinKeppra
Dilantin (Phenytoin) is an antiepileptic medication. It prevents seizures by stabilizing brain cells and lowering abnormal communication within the brain.Keppra (Levetiracetam) is an antiepileptic medication. It prevents seizures by helping regulate neurotransmitters in the brain.
Type of medication
DilantinKeppra
Anticonvulsant
Hydantoin
Prescription only
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Available as
DilantinKeppra
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
DilantinKeppra
Risk factors for serious side effects
DilantinKeppra
  • 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 »
        • History of depression
        • Starting the first month of therapy
        • Taking with alcohol
        • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
        • Stopping Keppra (Levetiracetam) suddenly
        • History of psychiatric problems
        • Ages less than 18
        Detailed Keppra (Levetiracetam) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        DilantinKeppra
        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
        CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

        Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. 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.No specific food-related info.
        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.
        • If you have kidney problems, your dose may need to be adjusted. Your doctor will check your kidney function regularly.
        Sex
        No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
        Sleep
        No specific sleep-related info.
        • You can experience drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, or respiratory infections while on this.
        Weight
        No specific weight-related info.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        DilantinKeppra
        • 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, including partial-onset, generalized tonic-clonic, and myoclonic seizures.
        • Unlike many other medications for epilepsy, this has very few drug interactions, so your other medicines shouldn't be affected.
        • If you have trouble swallowing tablets, Keppra (Levetiracetam) is also available as an oral solution.
        • You won’t need to get regular blood tests to check the drug levels in your body.
        Downsides and risks
        DilantinKeppra
        • 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.
        • It’s important to take your dose on time so that Keppra (Levetiracetam) has consistent levels in your body.
        • May not be the best drug to take if you have a history of psychiatric issues, such as depression or bipolar disorder.
        • If you have kidney problems, your dose may need to be adjusted. Your doctor will check your kidney function regularly.
        • Keppra (Levetiracetam) is only FDA-approved to be taken with other medicines to treat epilepsy.
        Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
        DilantinKeppra
        • 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.
        • You can experience drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, or respiratory infections while on this.
        • If you start having skin rashes or changes in your mood, tell your doctor immediately.
        • If you need to stop taking Keppra (Levetiracetam), do so over at least one week to prevent withdrawal seizures.
        • If you are taking the oral solution, use the measuring device given with the medicine. Don’t use your household tablespoons to measure.
        • Don’t crush or cut this medicine before taking it, or else you’ll have dangerously high levels of this drug in your body.
        Learn more
        More about DilantinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about KeppraSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert