Hydantoins/Ethyl Alcohol Interactions

This information is generalized and not intended as specific medical advice. Consult your healthcare professional before taking or discontinuing any drug or commencing any course of treatment.

Medical warning:

Moderate. These medicines may cause some risk when taken together. Contact your healthcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist) for more information.

How the interaction occurs:

Chronic alcohol consumption may prevent your liver from properly processing hydantoin containing medicines.

What might happen:

The amount of phenytoin in your blood may increase, causing more side effects or it may decrease, which may result in seizures.

What you should do about this interaction:

Avoid drinking alcohol prior to starting the phenytoin therapy. Alcohol is also contained in many medicines. Discuss the amount of alcohol in your medicines with your healhcare professional (e.g. doctor or pharmacist).If you experience nausea, vomiting, confusion, dizziness, other symptoms, or any signs of seizures (abnormal auras or motor movements), contact your doctor. Your doctor may want to check the amount of phenytoin in your blood or change the dose of phenytoin.Your healthcare professionals may already be aware of this interaction and may be monitoring you for it. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine or the consumption of alcohol without checking with them first.

  • 1.Birkett DJ, Graham GG, Chinwah PM, Wade DN, Hickie JB. Multiple drug interactions with phenytoin. Med J Aust 1977 Oct 1;2(14):467-8.
  • 2.Kater RM, Roggin G, Tobon F, Zieve P, Iber FL. Increased rate of clearance of drugs from the circulation of alcoholics. Am J Med Sci 1969 Jul; 258(1):35-9.
  • 3.Schmidt D. Effect of ethanol intake on phenytoin metabolism in volunteers. Experientia 1975 Nov 15;31(11):1313-4.
  • 4.Sandor P, Sellers EM, Dumbrell M, Khouw V. Effect of short- and long-term alcohol use on phenytoin kinetics in chronic alcoholics. Clin Pharmacol Ther 1981 Sep;30(3):390-7.

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CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.