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DILANTIN® Infatabs®Use in Specific Populations (phenytoin)


8.1 Pregnancy

Pregnancy Exposure Registry

There is a pregnancy exposure registry that monitors pregnancy outcomes in women exposed to antiepileptic drugs (AEDs), such as DILANTIN, during pregnancy. Physicians are advised to recommend that pregnant patients taking DILANTIN enroll in the North American Antiepileptic Drug (NAAED) Pregnancy Registry. This can be done by calling the tollfree number 1-888-233-2334, and must be done by patients themselves. Information on the registry can also be found at the website

Risk Summary

In humans, prenatal exposure to phenytoin may increase the risks for congenital malformations and other adverse developmental outcomes. Prenatal phenytoin exposure is associated with an increased incidence of major malformations, including orofacial clefts and cardiac defects. In addition, the fetal hydantoin syndrome, a pattern of abnormalities including dysmorphic skull and facial features, nail and digit hypoplasia, growth abnormalities (including microcephaly), and cognitive deficits has been reported among children born to epileptic women who took phenytoin alone or in combination with other antiepileptic drugs during pregnancy [see Data]. There have been several reported cases of malignancies, including neuroblastoma, in children whose mothers received phenytoin during pregnancy.

Administration of phenytoin to pregnant animals resulted in an increased incidence of fetal malformations and other manifestations of developmental toxicity (including embryofetal death, growth impairment, and behavioral abnormalities) in multiple species at clinically relevant doses [see Data].

In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and of miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2 to 4% and 15 to 20%, respectively. The background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown.

Clinical Considerations

Disease-associated maternal risk

An increase in seizure frequency may occur during pregnancy because of altered phenytoin pharmacokinetics. Periodic measurement of serum phenytoin concentrations may be valuable in the management of pregnant women as a guide to appropriate adjustment of dosage [see Dosage and Administration (2.4, 2.8)]. However, postpartum restoration of the original dosage will probably be indicated [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

Fetal/Neonatal Adverse Reactions

A potentially life-threatening bleeding disorder related to decreased levels of vitamin K-dependent clotting factors may occur in newborns exposed to phenytoin in utero. This drug-induced condition can be prevented with vitamin K administration to the mother before delivery and to the neonate after birth.


Human Data

Meta-analyses using data from published observational studies and registries have estimated an approximately 2.4-fold increased risk for any major malformation in children with prenatal phenytoin exposure compared to controls. An increased risk of heart defects, facial clefts, and digital hypoplasia has been reported. The fetal hydantoin syndrome is a pattern of congenital anomalies including craniofacial anomalies, nail and digital hypoplasia, prenatal-onset growth deficiency, and neurodevelopmental deficiencies.

Animal Data

Administration of phenytoin to pregnant rats, rabbits, and mice during organogenesis resulted in embryofetal death, fetal malformations, and decreased fetal growth. Malformations (including craniofacial, cardiovascular, neural, limb, and digit abnormalities) were observed in rats, rabbits, and mice at doses as low as 100, 75, and 12.5 mg/kg, respectively.

8.2 Lactation

Risk Summary

Phenytoin is secreted in human milk. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother's clinical need for DILANTIN and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed infant from DILANTIN or from the underlying maternal condition.

8.4 Pediatric Use

Initially, 5 mg/kg/day in two or three equally divided doses, with subsequent dosage individualized to a maximum of 300 mg daily. A recommended daily maintenance dosage is usually 4 to 8 mg/kg. Children over 6 years and adolescents may require the minimum adult dosage (300 mg/day) [see Dosage and Administration (2.3)].

8.5 Geriatric Use

Phenytoin clearance tends to decrease with increasing age [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. Lower or less frequent dosing may be required [see Dosage and Administration (2.7)].

8.6 Renal and/or Hepatic Impairment or Hypoalbuminemia

The liver is the chief site of biotransformation of phenytoin; patients with impaired liver function, elderly patients, or those who are gravely ill may show early signs of toxicity.

Because the fraction of unbound phenytoin is increased in patients with renal or hepatic disease, or in those with hypoalbuminemia, the monitoring of phenytoin serum levels should be based on the unbound fraction in those patients.

8.7 Use in Patients with Decreased CYP2C9 Function

Patients who are intermediate or poor metabolizers of CYP2C9 substrates (e.g., *1/*3, *2/*2, *3/*3) may exhibit increased phenytoin serum concentrations compared to patients who are normal metabolizers (e.g., *1/*1). Thus, patients who are known to be intermediate or poor metabolizers may ultimately require lower doses of phenytoin to maintain similar steady-state concentrations compared to normal metabolizers. If early signs of dose-related central nervous system (CNS) toxicity develop, serum concentrations should be checked immediately [see Clinical Pharmacology (12.5)].

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