Compare Dilantin vs. Tegretol

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

Dilantin
(Phenytoin)

Tegretol
(Carbamazepine)

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, stabilizes mood, and relieves nerve pain. Tegretol (Carbamazepine) is useful for preventing seizures and relieving certain types of nerve pain, but interacts with many drugs.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Tegretol (Carbamazepine)
58%
25% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
42%
25% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
21%
21% vs. Dilantin (Phenytoin)
Side effects
DilantinTegretol

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

FDA side effect reports for Dilantin »
  • Dizziness 32%
  • Drowsiness 19%
  • Nausea 19%
  • Vomiting 15%
  • Itching 6%
  • Constipation 5%
  • Dry mouth 5%
  • Muscle weakness 4%
  • Blurred vision 4%
  • Rash 3%
More Tegretol side effects »
How it works
DilantinTegretol
Dilantin (Phenytoin) is an antiepileptic medication. It prevents seizures by stabilizing brain cells and lowering abnormal communication within the brain.Tegretol (Carbamazepine) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to block certain kinds of nerve activity to reduce seizures and pain.
Type of medication
DilantinTegretol
Anticonvulsant
Hydantoin
Prescription only
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Available as
DilantinTegretol
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Oral suspension
Used for (click to learn more)
DilantinTegretol
Risk factors for serious side effects
DilantinTegretol
  • 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 »
    • People also taking Depakote
    • Asian ancestry
      • History of depression
      • European, Chinese, or Japanese ancestry
        • Age 65 years or older
        • Stopping Tegretol (Carbamazepine) suddenly
        Detailed Tegretol (Carbamazepine) risks & warnings »
        Pregnancy category
        DilantinTegretol
        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.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.
        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.No specific weight-related info.
        Upsides and benefits
        DilantinTegretol
        • 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 tonic-clonic and partial seizures.
        • First-line option for trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain involving the face, head, and neck), and can relieve other types of nerve pain.
        • May be helpful in stabilizing mood for people with bipolar disorder.
        Downsides and risks
        DilantinTegretol
        • 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.
        • Interacts with many other medicines and supplements.
        • Higher risk of skin reactions compared to other antiepileptic medicines, ranging from mild to life-threatening rash.
        • Can cause blurry vision, dizziness, and upset stomach.
        • 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
        DilantinTegretol
        • 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.
        • Report skin rashes or blistering immediately.
        • Don't use if pregnant.
        • Requires routine blood tests.
        • Report confusion, persistent abdominal pain, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising to your doctor.
        • Takes up to 5 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
        Learn more
        More about DilantinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
        More about TegretolSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert