Dilantin (Phenytoin) for Pain Management in Multiple Sclerosis

Dilantin (phenytoin) is a hydantoin anticonvulsant that is commonly used for the management of epileptic seizures. In MS patients, it is used for pain management to reduce painful sensations caused by demyelination in the sensory pathways in the brain and spinal cord.

Because there are many equivalents to Dilantin (phenytoin), and because different phenytoin products are absorbed by the body in different ways, caution should be taken to ensure doses are correctly adjusted.

Common Dilantin side effects include nausea, vomiting, constipation, tremors, slurred speech, loss of balance or coordination, rash, headache, confusion, dizziness, nervousness and/or sleep disorders.

Phenytoin has a black box warning (information on a prescription drug label to call attention to serious or life-threatening risks) regarding cardiovascular risk if phenytoin is given by injection, with an existing a risk of arrhythmias, or severe hypotension.

Pain can have a negative impact on the quality of life of people with MS. A combination of medicines and positive lifestyle changes such as exercising and staying active, massages, chiropractic treatments, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, can reduce the impact of pain on the quality of life for patients suffering from chronic pain can improve quality of life.

Most analgesics are not usually enough to ease pain caused by nerve damage in the central nervous system, so drugs that treat seizures (phenytoin, gabapentin, carbamazepine), antidepressants (amitriptyline, nortriptyline), and some benzodiazepines (clonazepam) are common first choices for pain management.

Read the latest news on pain management and multiple sclerosis.

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