Compare Lamictal vs. Dilantin

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

Lamictal (Lamotrigine)

Prescription only

Dilantin (Phenytoin)

Prescription only
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.

3.7/ 5 average rating with 184 reviewsforLamictal
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.

Upsides
  • 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
  • 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.
Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
184 reviews so far
66%
saidit'sworth it
58%
saiditworked well
18%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
36possible side effects
  • Dizziness
    38%
  • Headache
    28%
  • Diplopia
    28%
  • Ataxia
    22%
  • Nausea
    19%
  • Blurred vision
    16%
  • Somnolence
    14%
  • Rhinitis
    14%
  • Pharyngitis
    10%
  • Rash
    10%
  • Vomiting
    9%
  • Cough increased
    8%
  • Flu syndrome
    7%
  • Dysmenorrhea
    7%
  • Fever
    6%
  • Diarrhea
    6%
  • Incoordination
    6%
  • Insomnia
    6%
  • Abdominal pain
    5%
  • Dyspepsia
    5%
  • Constipation
    4%
  • Tremor
    4%
  • Depression
    4%
  • Anxiety
    4%
  • Vaginitis
    4%
  • Convulsion
    3%
  • Irritability
    3%
  • Speech disorder
    3%
  • Pruritus
    3%
  • Vision abnormality
    3%
  • Neck pain
    2%
  • Reaction aggravated (seizure exacerbation)
    2%
  • Anorexia
    2%
  • Arthralgia
    2%
  • Concentration disturbance
    2%
  • Amenorrhea
    2%
See more detailed side effects
The Dilantin (Phenytoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Serious skin rash
    • People also taking Depakote
    • Taking more than the prescribed dose
    • Increasing the dose too quickly
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Blood disorders
  • Meningitis
  • Interactions with birth control pills
    • Taking birth control pills
  • Withdrawal seizures
    • Stopping Lamictal (Lamotrigine) suddenly
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Skin reactions
    • People of Asian ancestry
  • Serious liver damage
    • Starting Dilantin (Phenytoin) within the first two months
  • Cardiovascular risk with fast IV infusions
    • Infusing Dilantin (Phenytoin) too fast
  • Changes in blood cells
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Bone fractures due to weakened bones
    • History of osteoporosis
    • History of fractures
  • Withdrawal seizures
    • Stopping Dilantin (Phenytoin) suddenly
See more detailed risks and warnings