Clinical data
Trade names Cerebyx
AHFS/ Monograph
MedlinePlus a604036
  • US: D (Evidence of risk)
Routes of
Intravenous, intramuscular
ATC code N03AB05 (WHO)
Legal status
Legal status
  • ℞ (Prescription only)
Pharmacokinetic data
Bioavailability 100% (IM)
Protein binding 95–99%
Metabolism Liver
Biological half-life 15 minutes to convert to phenytoin
Excretion Kidney (as phenytoin)
CAS Number 93390-81-9 YesY
PubChem (CID) 56339
DrugBank DB01320 YesY
ChemSpider 50839 YesY
UNII B4SF212641 YesY
KEGG D07993 YesY
Chemical and physical data
Formula C16H15N2O6P
Molar mass 362.274 g/mol
3D model (Jmol) Interactive image
 NYesY (what is this?)  (verify)

Fosphenytoin (fosphenytoin sodium, trade names Cerebyx, Parke-Davis; Prodilantin, Pfizer Holding France[1]) is a water-soluble phenytoin prodrug that is administered intravenously to deliver phenytoin, potentially more safely than intravenous phenytoin. It is most commonly used in the acute treatment convulsive status epilepticus.

Fosphenytoin was developed in 1996.[2] On 18 November 2004, Sicor (a subsidiary of Teva) received a tentative approval letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration for a generic version of fosphenytoin.[3]

Medical uses

Fosphenytoin is approved in the United States for the short term (five days or fewer) treatment of epilepsy when more widely used means of phenytoin administration are not possible or are ill-advised,[4] such as endotracheal intubation, status epilepticus or some other type of repeated seizures; vomiting, and/or the patient is unalert or not awake or both.[5]


In 2003, it was reported that even though anticonvulsants are often very effective in mania, and acute mania requires rapid treatment, fosphenytoin had no antimanic effect.[6]


One millimole of phenytoin is produced for every millimole of fosphenytoin administered; the hydrolysis of fosphenytoin also yields phosphate and formaldehyde, the latter of which is subsequently metabolized to formate, which is in turn metabolized by a folate dependent mechanism.[4]

Side effects

Side effects are similar to intravenous phenytoin and include hypotension, cardiac arrhythmias, CNS adverse events (nystagmus, dizziness, sedation/somnolence, ataxia and stupor), and local dermatological reactions. Purple glove syndrome probably occurs with fosphenytoin but possibly at lower frequency than with intravenous phenytoin. Fosphenytoin can cause hyperphosphatemia in end-stage renal failure patients.[7]


Phenytoin, in both its acidic and sodium salt forms, is erratically bioavailable whether it is injected or taken orally due to its high melting point, weak acidity, and its being only sparingly soluble in water.[8] Simply putting patients on other drugs is not always an option; this was especially true before 1993, when the number of anticonvulsants available was much more limited.[9] One solution was to develop a prodrug that did not have these drawbacks.

Fosphenytoin was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 5, 1996 for use in epilepsy.[10]


  1. "PRODILANTIN 75 mg/ml sol inj IM et p perf IV". VIDAL, l'information de référence sur les produits de santé. Retrieved 23 October 2005.
  2. Pitkänen, Asla; Schwartzkroin, Philip A.; Moshé, Solomon L. (2005). Models of Seizures and Epilepsy. Burlington: Elsevier. p. 539. ISBN 9780080457024.
  3. "Fosphenytoin Sodium Approval History". Retrieved 20 October 2005.
  4. 1 2 Parke-Davis (2001). "Cerebyx: Fosphenytoin Sodium Injection - Labeling Revision" (PDF). Cerebyx Approval History. Warner-Lambert Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 17, 2003. Retrieved 20 October 2005.
  5. Johnson J, Wrenn K (2001). "Inappropriate fosphenytoin use in the ED". American Journal of Emergency Medicine. 19 (4): 293–4. doi:10.1053/ajem.2001.24471. PMID 11447516. Fulltext options List of Library Holdings Worldwide
  6. Applebaum J, Levine J, Belmaker RH (2003). "Intravenous fosphenytoin in acute mania" (PDF). Journal Clinical Psychiatry. 64 (4): 408–9. doi:10.4088/JCP.v64n0408. PMID 12716241.
  7. McBryde KD, Wilcox J, Kher KK (2005). "Hyperphosphatemia due to fosphenytoin in a pediatric ESRD patient". Pediatric Nephrology (Berlin, Germany) (PDF). 20 (8): 1182–5. doi:10.1007/s00467-005-1947-0. PMID 15965770.
  8. Yamaoka Y, Roberts RD, Stella VJ (April 1983). "Low-melting phenytoin prodrugs as alternative oral delivery modes for phenytoin: a model for other high-melting sparingly water-soluble drugs". J Pharm Sci. 72 (4): 400–5. doi:10.1002/jps.2600720420. PMID 6864479.
  9. Anticonvulsants before 1993 Neuroland
  10. "Cerebyx Approval History". Retrieved 20 October 2005.

See also

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