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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Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
5.178571428571429Lamictal
Reviews for Lamictal (Lamotrigine)
67%
of people say Lamictal (Lamotrigine) is worth it
58%
say it works well
19%
say it's a big hassle

Not enough reviews for this drug. Help someone out, leave a review!

Side effects
LamictalDilantin
  • Double vision 41%
  • Dizziness 27%
  • Lack of muscle coordination 18%
  • Blurred vision 15%
  • Nausea 14%
  • Vomiting 14%
  • Headache 10%
  • Inflammation inside the nose 5%
  • Sleep difficulty 4%
  • Incoordination 4%
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
AnticonvulsantPrescription only
Anticonvulsant
Hydantoin
Prescription only
Available as
LamictalDilantin
  • Pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Used for (click to learn more)
LamictalDilantin
How well it works for depression
The free Iodine Start program helps people track how well they are improving, and find the right antidepressant faster.
The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Lamictal (Lamotrigine)The free Iodine Start program (personal reports and coaching) is currently only for antidepressants. For now, you can read our pharmacist info about this medication.Learn more about Dilantin (Phenytoin)
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 category
          LamictalDilantin
          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
          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
          • Take with food to avoid upset stomach.
          No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific 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.
          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
          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
          More about DilantinSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert