Compare Lamictal vs. Dilantin

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

Lamictal
(lamotrigine)

Dilantin
(phenytoin)

Prevents seizures and stabilizes mood. Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is most useful for treating severe seizure disorders, and for bipolar disorder with more depression symptoms than manic symptoms. Just be careful to increase your dose slowly to avoid skin rash.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.
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Prices and coupon for 30 (100mg) tablets of lamotrigine
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Prices and coupon for 90 (100mg) capsules of phenytoin
Reviews & ratings
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5.11Lamictal
Reviews for Lamictal (lamotrigine)
66%
of people (All ages) say Lamictal (lamotrigine) is worth it
58%
say it works well
18%
say it's a big hassle
184 reviews
Have you used Lamictal (lamotrigine)?
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Have you used Dilantin (phenytoin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
LamictalDilantin
  • Dizziness 25%
  • Headache 9%
  • Double vision 21%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 16%
  • Nausea 9%
  • Blurred vision 11%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 5%
  • Drowsiness 7%
  • Sore throat 1%
  • Rash 5%
More Lamictal side effects »

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

FDA side effect reports for Dilantin »
How it works
LamictalDilantin
Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is an antiepileptic. Researchers don't know exactly how it works, but it seems to calm nerve activity in the brain.Dilantin (Phenytoin) is an antiepileptic medication. It prevents seizures by stabilizing brain cells and lowering abnormal communication within the brain.
Type of medication
LamictalDilantin
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
LamictalDilantin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for
LamictalDilantin
Risk factors for serious side effects
LamictalDilantin
  • History of depression
  • People also taking Depakote
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Increasing the dose too quickly
        • Taking birth control pills
        • Stopping Lamictal (Lamotrigine) suddenly
        Detailed Lamictal (lamotrigine) risks & warnings »
        • 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 »
          Pregnancy

          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.

          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.

          Food
          LamictalDilantin
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          No food related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          LamictalDilantin
          No kidneys and liver related info.
          • 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.
          Upsides and benefits
          LamictalDilantin
          • Effective at lowering the frequency of seizures in people with epilepsy or Lennox-Gestaut syndrome. Typically used together with other medications for severe seizure disorders.
          • Works best for partial, tonic-clonic, and absence seizures.
          • A first-line treatment for bipolar disorder. Effective long-term treatment for stabilizing mood. Prevents both depressive and manic episodes, but the effect is greater for preventing depression.
          • Doesn't require routine blood tests.
          • 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.
          Downsides and risks
          LamictalDilantin
          • Can cause double vision, dizziness, sleepiness, and headache.
          • Has the risk of a rare but life-threatening rash.
          • Can make hormonal birth control less effective.
          • Might be less effective than other medicines for treating manic episodes (acute mania) in people with bipolar disorder.
          • 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.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          LamictalDilantin
          • Follow dose adjustments set by your doctor to minimize skin rash.
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          • Report rash, blurry vision, fever, persistent headache, or neck stiffness to your doctor.
          • Makes hormonal birth control less effective.
          • Takes 4 to 6 weeks to feel full effects on mood.
          • 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.
          Learn more
          More about LamictalSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Lamictal (lamotrigine)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it
          More about DilantinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Dilantin (phenytoin)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it