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Phenytoin 

Phenytoin
Chapter:
Phenytoin
Author(s):

Andrea E. Cavanna

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198791577.003.0010
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date: 24 August 2019

Phenytoin is a first-generation antiepileptic drug characterized by a good range of antiepileptic indications, with an acceptable interaction profile in polytherapy. The reasons for the decreased use of phenytoin in patients with epilepsy include its narrow therapeutic index and potential for long-term toxicity, as well as the development of other antiepileptic drugs throughout the second half of the twentieth century. Phenytoin has a good behavioural tolerability profile and a restricted range of psychiatric uses. Despite occasional reports of adverse behavioural effects (especially at higher doses), there is some weak evidence for its potential usefulness as mood stabilizer and in the pharmacological management of impulsive aggression.

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