Cerebellar Atrophy or Cerebral atrophy (atrophy of the brain) has been linked to Dilantin (Phenytoin), medications commonly used to treat seizures and epilepsy as well as depression and arrhythmias.
Dilantin (Phenytoin) is an anticonvulsant that can be considered the grandfather of all epilepsy medications. Dilantin remains one of the most widely used drugs in the world. Although in most cases, it is now a second-line therapy, it’s still the drug of choice in the emergency treatment of seizures and status epilepticus.
Dilantin can used to treat generalized and partial tonic clonic seizures and complex partial (psychomotor, temporal lobe) seizures. It’s also used for prevention and treatment of seizures occurring during or following neurosurgery. It may be used alone as mono therapy or with phenobarbital and other AEDs.
Dilantin has been linked to severe, toxic side effects which evidence suggests may cause permanent changes in the brain that can include Cerebellar Atrophy or Cerebral atrophy (atrophy of the brain or a degeneration of the brain).
Cerebellar Atrophy can be described as a loss of neurons and the connections between them. There is significant evidence that Dilantin or Phenytoin can induce cerebellar atrophy.
If you have been diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy you may experience symptoms such as unsteady gait, difficulties speaking or swallowing, or poor muscle control. Dilantin toxicity occurs when Dilantin (phenytoin) builds up to harmful levels in your body.
Individual who have suffered cerebellar atrophy after use of Dilantin (phenytoin) may be eligible for compensation to assist with medical bills and other complications associated with their injuries.
Cerebral atrophy (atrophy of the brain) occurs when brain tissue degenerates and loses neurons and the connections between them. Atrophy can be generalized, which means the entire brain has shrunk; or it can be focal, affecting only a certain area of the brain and decreasing the functions that area of the brain controls.
Among the conditions that can potentially lead to cerebellar degeneration include seizures, and other cerebellar disorders. Cerebellar degeneration has also been linked to toxins in the brain from ethanol, chemotherapy treatments and phenytoin.
Research linking cerebellar atrophy and Dilantin side effects finds that cerebellar atrophy tends to show up in patients after long-term use of Dilantin or phenytoin and when drug levels are above the therapeutic range. However, cerebellar atrophy also has been reported when the drug levels appear in the normal range.
Numerous studies have found that cerebellar toxicity caused by long-term use of Dilantin or phenytoin can lead to cerebellar atrophy.
Additional risks of Dilantin
The following are some dangers associated with Dilantin:
Brain Degeneration – Long-term use of Dilantin is linked to atrophy of the brain cerebellum.
Weakening of Bones – Long-term use of Dilantin is associated with decreased bone density, making bones more fragile which can eventually result in fractures or other complications such as osteoporosis.
Gingivitis – A high percentage of patients who use Dilantin long term can experience overgrowth of the gums. This is more common in children than adults.
Neuropathy – Individuals who take Dilantin long terms may develop sensory peripheral polyneuropathy, or nerve damage, which can lead to pain, tingling or numbness in the feet and legs.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome – This rare, but serious disorder in which the skin and mucous membranes react severely to a medication or infection.
Purple Glove Syndrome – The FDA is investigating whether Dilantin causes Purple Glove Syndrome, a skin disease that causes swelling, discoloration and pain in the arms and legs. In serious cases, it can force amputation of affected limbs.
Birth Defects – If taken during pregnancy, Dilantin can lead to cleft lip or palate, and other skull, face or heart malformations.
Did you or a loved one suffer side effects from Dilantin (phenytoin)?
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