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Medication alert – Why the new Dilantin® 100 mg. Capsules?
The change in Dilantin 100 mg capsules is causing some consternation with patients and frustration with providers. According to Pfizer, the Food and Drug Administration approved manufacturing changes for Dilantin® (phenytoin sodium). Given this change, we talked with media relations at Pfizer, visited various pharmacies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and spoke with Barry Gidal, PharmD, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and member of the epilepsy.com editorial board. Changes were noted in a September 23, 2007 letter that went to some pharmacists at the corporate level. http://professionals.epilepsy.com/pdfs/PFZ_DIL_173_LetterPH_D01.pdf
Patients should turn to their physicians
However, Gidal said, “We don’t have a lot of information from Pfizer regarding why this formulation occurred, or exactly what, if any changes in absorption we can expect with the ‘new’ Dilantin. It is important that patients recognize there is a change in appearance in the medication. In the short term, this may cause some confusion.”
“As for how the ‘old’ Dilantin and the ‘new’ Dilantin compare with respect to absorption; there is again very little information available from Pfizer. The information that is available suggests that the two formulations are bioequivalent according to FDA standards, with perhaps the new formulation actually being slightly better absorbed, at least when taken on an empty stomach.”
In recommendations to patients, Gidal is suggesting they turn to their physicians. “Until we know more specifics, it would seem prudent that patients note when they begin taking the new formulation, and if they experience any change in either side effects or seizure frequency they should contact their physician.”
The new Dilantin
Dilantin® 100 mg extended oral capsules (half orange and half white) are now being manufactured and will replace Dilantin Kapseal® 100 mg. – white with an orange band in the center — which are being discontinued. To help physicians help patients we have updated our downloadable medication sheet at http://www.epilepsy.com/pdfs_med/epilepsy_phenytoin.pdf
Jack Cox of Pfizer Media Relations told epilepsy.com “Pfizer did not increase the price with this change.” (However, we are looking into anecdotal reports from pharmacies and patients that are telling us that patient co-pays may be higher.)
Availability of the new Dilantin
Some pharmacies ran out of the original Dilantin and had the new Dilantin on back order. This shortage is expected to be temporary for these pharmacies and the new Dilantin can be drop shipped within a week.
Mike DeAngelis, director of public relations for CVS Pharmacy told epilepsy.com “Our pharmacies will continue to dispense [Dilantin Kapseals] until our inventory is depleted and Pfizer will replenish our supply with the new version. Our customers will receive messaging on their prescription bags explaining the change in appearance.”
This change does not affect the generic versions of Dilantin®, called phenytoin, that are available, nor the 30 mg Dilantin Kapseal.
As a help to your patients
Patty Shafer, RN, the epilepsy.com resource specialist is encouraging users to be proactive. Here are some steps that you may wish to suggest to your patients if they are using brand Dilantin:
We will continue to follow this story.
Edited by Steven C. Schachter, MD
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