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Does Dilantin Cause Brain Damage?

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The Link Between Dilantin (Phenytoin) and Cerebellar Atrophy //

Although Dilantin can prevent and control seizures, it can also cause a collection of serious health conditions. Many of these risks are indicated on the drug’s warning label, but the drug’s manufacturer, Pfizer, kept one particular risk a secret for many years.

For decades, Dilantin has been associated with cerebellar atrophy or degeneration, a type of brain damage caused by the deterioration of neurons (nerve cells) in the cerebellum (the area of the brain that controls balance and muscle coordination). Pfizer was allegedly aware of this link by 2009, but Dilantin’s label had no mention of cerebellar atrophy until 2016.

Meanwhile, the company profited at the expense of consumers, some of whom were unwittingly developing permanent brain damage as a result of its product.

What Is Dilantin?

Dilantin is a brand-name version of phenytoin, which is an anticonvulsant used to control certain types of seizures and prevent seizures during or after surgery to the brain or nervous system. The medication works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain.

Phenytoin was discovered in 1908, but scientists did not find a use for the drug until 1938. By 1953, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had approved phenytoin for use with seizures. In 2008, the drug was put on the FDA’s Potential Signals of Serious Risks list, and its label was amended several times as a result. In 2016, the label was amended to include the risk of cerebellar atrophy.

Shockingly, studies linked phenytoin to cerebellar degeneration as early as 1980 and 1994.

What Are the Symptoms of Cerebellar Atrophy?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke:

The most characteristic symptom of cerebellar degeneration is a wide-based, unsteady, lurching walk, often accompanied by a back and forth tremor in the trunk of the body.”

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Slow, unsteady, and jerky movement of the arms or legs
  • Uncoordinated hand and finger movements
  • Slowed and slurred speech
  • Rapid, small movements of the eyes (nystagmus)
  • Psychiatric symptoms

Cerebellar atrophy is diagnosed with imaging studies, such as CT scans and MRIs. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this kind of brain damage.

What If Dilantin Caused My Cerebellar Atrophy?

If you have been diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy after taking Dilantin, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Attorney Brett H. Oppenheimer has been handling dangerous drug cases for many years and is willing to speak with you and consider your case.

Our firm will not collect any fees unless we are able to recover compensation on your behalf.

Don’t let Pfizer profit from your suffering. Instead, call us at (502) 242-8877 or contact us online today.

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