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Fosphenytoin is used for the treatment of status epilepticus (a life-threatening condition the fits occurring for longer duration or immediately one after the other).

How it works

Fosphenytoin belongs to the class of drugs known as anticonvulsants. It acts by suppressing the excessive excitation in the brain and reduces the occurrence of fits (seizures).

Common side effects

Paresthesia (tingling or pricking sensation), Blurred vision, Bradycardia, Burning sensation, Cardiac arrest, Confusion, Constipation, Double vision, Eye swelling, Lip swelling, Eyelid swelling, Decreased blood pressure, Itching, Cardiovascular reaction


Expert advice

  • Immediately consult your doctor if you develop any suicidal thoughts, swelling, discoloration or pain at the injection site, serious skin infections such as rash, blisters, itching and fever while on treatment with fosphenytoin.  
  • Avoid consumption of alcohol while being treated with fosphenytoin as it may worsen the side effects.
  • Do not drive or operate machinery after taking fosphenytoin as it causes dizziness.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Do not take if allergic to fosphenytoin or any of its ingredients.
  • Do not take if suffering from heart diseases affecting the heart rhythm (e.g. slow heartbeat, certain heart blocks.).
  • Do not take if suffering from disorder of abnormal red blood cell generation (acute intermittent porphyria).

Frequently asked questions


Q. Is fosphenytoin a vesicant?
Yes, fosphenytoin is a vesicant.
Q. Why is fosphenytoin better than Dilantin?
Dilantin is a brand name of phenytoin. Fosphenytoin does not have side effects which are commonly associated with the use of phenytoin (when injected intravenously or intramuscularly) such as injection site irritation and sudden changes in the heart rate (arrhythmia), hence fosphenytoin is better than Dilantin.

Content on this page was last updated on 30 September, 2016, by Dr. Varun Gupta (MD Pharmacology)