Compare Depakote vs. Dilantin

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

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Depakote (divalproex)

Prescription only

Dilantin (phenytoin)

Prescription only
Treats and prevents seizures, and stabilizes mood.

Depakote (divalproex) is good for long-term prevention of seizures, manic episodes in bipolar disorder, and migraines.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 97 reviewsforDepakote
Treats and prevents seizures.

Dilantin (phenytoin) is very good at treating and preventing seizures, but it has many drug interactions and some serious side effects.

Upsides
  • Lowers the frequency of seizures, especially for people with absence seizures or complex partial seizures.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is a first-line treatment to stabilize mood for people with bipolar disorder.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is helpful for preventing frequent migraines.
  • The sprinkle pill can be swallowed whole or can be opened up and mixed with applesauce if you have a hard time swallowing.
  • Depakote (divalproex) is available as a generic.
  • If you have trouble swallowing pills, Dilantin (phenytoin) is available as a chewable tablet or a liquid.
  • Dilantin (phenytoin) is available in a cheaper, generic form.
Downsides
  • It can take 3 to 4 weeks before you feel the full effects of Depakote (divalproex).
  • Depakote (divalproex) is not a good medication for people with liver problems.
  • Requires regular blood tests to see how the medication is affecting your body.
  • Depakote (divalproex) can make you bleed more easily.
  • Need to get regular blood tests while taking Dilantin (phenytoin) to make sure the medicine level is safe and effective in your body.
  • Can cause changes in your appearance, such as unwanted hair growth and enlargement of your gums.
  • If you have kidney problems, you’ll need regular blood tests to check your kidney function and to make sure Dilantin (phenytoin) levels in your blood don’t get too high.
  • Dilantin (phenytoin) can make other medications not work as well, including birth control.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Delayed release pill
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
97 reviews so far
46%
saidit'sworth it
40%
saiditworked well
27%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
9possible side effects
  • Nausea
    22%
  • Sleepiness
    19%
  • Dizziness
    12%
  • Vomiting
    12%
  • Accidental injury
    11%
  • Feeling weak
    10%
  • Abdominal pain
    9%
  • Upset stomach
    9%
  • Rash
    6%
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
  • Harm to fetus
  • Liver damage
    • Children under age 2
    • History of metabolic disorders
    • Severe seizure disorder
    • Brain disease
    • History of liver problems
  • Pancreas problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Increased bleeding
  • Mental changes
    • History of metabolic disorders
    • People also taking Topamax
See more detailed risks and warnings
  • Severe skin reactions
    • Asian ancestry
  • Serious liver damage
    • First 2 months of taking Dilantin (phenytoin)
  • Changes in blood cell counts
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Withdrawal seizures
    • Stopping Dilantin (phenytoin) suddenly
See more detailed risks and warnings