Compare Dilantin vs. Depakote

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

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Dilantin (phenytoin)

Prescription only

Depakote (divalproex)

Prescription only
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.

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
Upsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
Downsides
  • 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.
  • 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.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Extended release pill
  • Delayed release pill
Price
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Reviews
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97 reviews so far
46%
saidit'sworth it
40%
saiditworked well
27%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Dilantin (phenytoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
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
Risks and risk factors
  • 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
  • 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