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Dilantin and Stevens Johnson Syndrome - d'Oliveira & Associates

Dilantin side effects include Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TENS). Our law firm is currently working with some of the more experienced lawyers in the country, who are filing Dilantin lawsuits, and there is no fee until you obtain a settlement or award. Call us toll-free or contact us online for a free consultation.



Dilantin (phenytoin sodium) is used to treat epilepsy. The drug works by slowing down electrical impulses in the brain which in turn stabilizes brain activity. It was first approved by the FDA in 1953. Through a series of acquisitions, the drug is now manufactured and marketed by Pfizer. Dilantin like other epilepsy drugs has been linked to serious side effects including Stevens Johnson Syndrome and toxic epidermal necrolysis.

Dilantin Side Effects

The FDA has received almost 10,000 adverse event reports detailing various side effects of Dilantin (i). Mild complications that were reported include dizziness, nausea, and fever. Serious health problems were also reported in a number of cases. For example, the FDA has received many reports that this drug has caused Purple Glove Syndrome, Stevens Johnson Syndrome, and toxic epidermal necrolysis. It is also suspected that it may cause birth defects. If you have been injured due to one of these serious reactions, then you should talk to a personal injury lawyer about the possibility of filing a Dilantin lawsuit.

Purple Glove Syndrome and Stevens Johnson Syndrome

Dilantin has been associated with Purple Glove Syndrome (PGS), a drug reaction that doctors are still trying to understand. PGS causes the patient’s hand to become purple and swollen. PGS can be very painful and in some extreme cases it requires amputation. In 1998, the American Academy of Neurology published a study which found that about 6% of its participants who took the drug developed PGS. The authors concluded that “PGS is not rare and elderly patients and individuals receiving large, multiple doses are particularly at risk (ii).” Later in September 2008, the FDA stated that it was concerned about the amount of PGS reports it had received from Dilantin patients and by 2010 the Agency had received 43 reports of PGS (iii).

PGS is not the only drug severe reaction that has been reported to the FDA. According to Adverse Events, the FDA has received 945 reports of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and 237 reports of toxic epidermal necrolysis (TENS) (iv). SJS and TENS are severe allergic reactions to a drug that can even be life-threatening in some cases. Such an allergic reaction is classified as TENS when it affects more than 30% of the body. SJS begins with flu-like symptoms but then quickly develops into a painful rash. As the reaction progresses, the rash can blister and cause lesions in the skin. The rash then causes the outer layer of skin to die and peel off. In extreme cases, these conditions have killed patients. In 2002, the Journal of Burn Care & Research published a medical study which found that 20% of all TENS cases were caused by Dilantin and that 25% of these TENS cases resulted in patient death. This data was compiled from 15 burn centers across the country (v). Permanent injuries caused by these conditions include:

  • Asthma
  • Blindness
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Lung damage
  • Permanent scarring or disfigurement
  • In some extreme cases, death

Pfizer and Dilantin Lawsuits

This drug has already led to a high-profile lawsuit and settlement, and the number of lawsuits is set to grow as more consumers become aware of its dangers. In 2010, Pfizer settled a Dilantin lawsuit for $3.78 million. The suit was filed after 9-year-old, Jesse Nichols Jacobson, suffered an SJS and TENS reaction to this drug. She passed away less than a month after taking the drug (vi).

PLEASE TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DISCONTINUING DILANTIN OR ANY PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION

Have You or a Loved One Suffered a Dilantin Injury?

If you or a loved one has suffered Stevens Johnson Syndrome as a result of taking this drug, then you should talk to a Dilantin lawyer. We are currently working with some of the more experienced attorneys in the country who can file a Dilantin lawsuit on your behalf. Also, there is no legal fee until you receive a settlement or award. Feel free to call our 24-hour phone line at 1-800-992-6878 for more information or fill out a contact form for a free legal consultation.

 
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