Compare Tegretol vs. Dilantin

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

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Tegretol (carbamazepine)

Prescription only

Dilantin (phenytoin)

Prescription only
Treats seizures and epilepsy.

Tegretol (carbamazepine) is useful for preventing seizures and relieving certain types of nerve pain, but reduces how well many other medications work.

3.3/ 5 average rating with 61 reviewsforTegretol
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 tonic-clonic and partial seizures.
  • First-choice option for trigeminal neuralgia (nerve pain involving the face, head, and neck), and can relieve other types of nerve pain.
  • Equetro is helpful in stabilizing mood for people with bipolar disorder.
  • Available as a generic in many forms: pill, extended-release pill, suspension, and chewable tablet.
  • 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
  • Takes several weeks to feel the full effects.
  • Interacts with many other medicines and supplements.
  • Higher risk of skin reactions compared to other antiepileptic medicines, ranging from mild to life-threatening rash.
  • Requires routine blood tests to see how the medicine is affecting your body.
  • Can't take the suspension form with other liquid medications.
  • 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
  • Suspension
  • Chewable tablet
  • Extended release
  • Chewable tablet
  • Liquid
Price
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Reviews
61 reviews so far
56%
saidit'sworth it
43%
saiditworked well
23%
saidit'sa big hassle

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Side effects
The Tegretol (carbamazepine) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
The Dilantin (phenytoin) FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.
Risks and risk factors
  • Life-threatening skin reactions
    • Carrying HLA-B*1502 gene
    • Asian ancestry
  • Blood disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior
    • History of depression
  • Serious allergic reactions
    • History of allergic reaction to Trileptal (oxcarbamazepine)
  • Pregnancy
  • Mental changes due to low sodium
    • Age 65 or older
    • Dehydration
    • Taking diuretics (water pills)
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