Compare Dilantin vs. Zonegran

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

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Dilantin (phenytoin)

Prescription only

Zonegran (zonisamide)

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.

Controls partial seizures.

Zonegran (zonisamide) is used with other medicines to help control partial seizures. It can't be used by itself.

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.
  • Available in generic.
  • Can be given once a day, so it's easier to remember.
  • You can take Zonegran (zonisamide) with or without food.
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.
  • Zonegran (zonisamide) has to be used with other medicines to help control your seizures. It's not used by itself.
  • Zonegran (zonisamide) is only approved in people age 16 or older.
  • Zonegran (zonisamide) can cause kidney stones; so you have to make sure you drink plenty of liquids.
  • Zonegran (zonisamide) can weaken your bones. Talk to your doctor about how to keep your bones strong.
  • Other medicines used to control seizures can interact with Zonegran (zonisamide), so your doctor might have to change the dosing of your medications.
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Used for
Dosage forms
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
  • Pill
Price
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Reviews
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Side effects
The Dilantin (phenytoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
34possible side effects
  • Sleepiness
    17%
  • Loss of appetite
    13%
  • Dizziness
    13%
  • Headache
    10%
  • Nausea
    9%
  • Agitation or Irritability
    9%
  • Fatigue
    8%
  • Tiredness
    7%
  • Stomach pain
    6%
  • Difficulty controlling movements
    6%
  • Confusion
    6%
  • Difficulty with concentration
    6%
  • Difficulty with memory
    6%
  • Depression
    6%
  • Trouble sleeping
    6%
  • Double vision
    6%
  • Diarrhea
    5%
  • Speech difficulties
    5%
  • Flu
    4%
  • Difficulty controlling eye movements
    4%
  • Prickling and tingling sensation
    4%
  • Mental slowing
    4%
  • Upset stomach
    3%
  • Weight loss
    3%
  • Anxiety
    3%
  • Skin rash
    3%
  • Constipation
    2%
  • Dry mouth
    2%
  • Bruising
    2%
  • Nervousness
    2%
  • Schizophrenia-like behavior
    2%
  • Difficulties in verbal expression
    2%
  • Stuffy nose
    2%
  • Changes in taste
    2%
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
  • Sulfa medicine allergy
    • Allergy to sulfonamides such as Septra or Bactrim
  • Lower blood cell counts
  • Heat stroke and less sweating
    • Under age 18
  • Suicidal behavior
    • Taking other medicines to control seizures
  • Higher blood acid
    • Diarrhea
    • Kidney disease
    • Severe COPD or lung disease
  • Withdrawal seizures
See more detailed risks and warnings