Neurological Question #25


The nurse is assessing a client who has been on phenytoin (dilantin) for 10 years. Which characteristic finding is observed in clients with long-term history of taking phenytoin sodium (Dilantin)?


  1. Excessive growth of gum tissue.
    • Rationale:
  2. Enlarged tonsils
    • Rationale:
  3. Dry scaly skin.
    • Rationale:
  4. Depression.
    • Rationale:



Excessive growth of gingival tissue is a common adverse effect of long-term use of phenytoin therapy. Teaching good hygiene and dental monitoring is important. Common effects do not include enlarged tonsils or dry skin. Serious effects in skin include spreading rashes. Depression and suicidal thoughts are adverse side effects and should always be reported to the health provider; however, depression side effects may occur at onset or any time during therapy (not only long-term use).

Learning Outcomes

Test Taking Tip

Video Rationale