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February 24, 1984

Introduction of Sodium Diphenyl Hydantoinate

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, University of Iowa Hopitals, Iowa City.

JAMA. 1984;251(8):1068-1069. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340320054028

Had the discovery of the anticonvulsant properties of sodium diphenyl hydantoinate been fortuitous, an article first reporting the effectiveness of this drug in man would justify its inclusion as a landmark article in the centennial celebration issues of JAMA. This drug, now called phenytoin (Dilantin), soon revolutionized the drug treatment of the convulsive disorders when such treatment had been largely limited to the bromides and phenobarbital. Phenytoin remains today a mainstay of therapy in the control of major motor seizures and some other manifestations of epilepsy. Few drugs continue in active use in unmodified form 45 years after the discovery of their usefulness. Few drugs have been as important for the relief of human disability and suffering, and this with an acceptable level of side and toxic effects in most patients.

That phenytoin was chosen by logical inference to be included in a series of drugs actively tested for effectiveness