If you have been suffering seizures, you may need to stay on medication in the long term as directed by your doctors. If you have received phenytoin only as a measure to prevent seizures for example, around the time of surgery , and you have never suffered a seizure, it is likely that your doctors will recommend a short course only. If you have been on phenytoin for a long time weeks or longer and it is decided to stop the drug, it should be withdrawn slowly over a few weeks.
Like all drugs, phenytoin has side effects. If taken at too high a dose, it may cause nausea, vomiting, tremor, insomnia, unsteadiness, slurred speech and blurred vision. Even if you are on the correct dose other side effects occasionally occur, including rashes, gum thickening, fevers, hepatitis, swollen lymph nodes and disorders of blood cells.
Sometimes you will need to stop the drug or change to another drug if you develop severe side effects as directed by your doctor. If you think you have developed a side effect then you should report this to your doctor GP or surgeon as very rarely some of the side effects can be life threatening. Our services. Brain and neuromuscular. Diagnosis and treatment. Brain tumours.
Awake craniotomy. Brain tumour support group. Drug treatment for brain tumours. Image-guided biopsy. NICE guidelines for treatment of brain tumours. Primary brain tumour. But as soon as I started coming off them I lost all the weight I'd put on. They are a neccesary evil and whilst I hated the weight, overall they made me feel much better and prevented further damage to my brain.
By joining one of our our Online Support Communities, you can get more tips about living with or beyond a brain tumour diagnosis from people who truly understand what you're going through. Steroids are usually given in short courses of a few days or a few weeks. Keep taking your steroids for as long as your specialist tells you to.
It has important information about your type and dosage of steroid, which may be needed in an emergency. Leave yourself a note or set an alarm to remind you. Getting into a routine of when you take your steroids is also helpful. If you do miss a dose, don't try to compensate by taking a double dose next time. Speak to your healthcare team to see what they advise.
Find out more about steroids in the full fact sheet - Clear print version, designed to RNIB guidelines. If you need someone to talk to or advice on where to get help, our Support and Information team is available by phone, email or live-chat. By taking part in our Improving Brain Tumour Care surveys and sharing your experiences, you can help us improve treatment and care for everyone affected by a brain tumour.
If you have further questions, need to clarify any of the information on this page, or want to find out more about research and clinical trials, please contact our team:. Clinical trials and research information. Get involved in research. You can also join our active online community - Join our online support groups. In this section In this section Neurosurgery Radiotherapy Chemotherapy Watch and wait Stereotactic radiotherapy Emerging treatments Side effects of treatment.
What are steroids? Before steroids are given While taking steroids. After taking steroids Steroids FAQs. Back to the top. Before steroids Brain cells in and around a tumour, or the area treated by surgery or radiotherapy, can swell and put pressure on surrounding tissues.
Asking questions Your healthcare team will also talk through what will happen and discuss any potential side-effects with you before any treatment is given. Make the right choices for you Our Step by Step interactive guide outlines what happens following a diagnosis, to answer your questions and help you to understand what to expect. Read our guide. While taking steroids The steroid most commonly used with brain tumours is dexamethasone.
Steroids can be taken:. Tablets or liquid medicine. Injection into a vein or muscle. Taking steroids Jennifer talks about using steroids during her brain tumour treatment. Read Arvin's story. Arvin Kaushal, diagnosed with 6 germinomas in "One minute I was an ambitious young man enjoying life, the next I was diagnosed with six brain tumours and having aggressive radiotherapy. Online Support Communities. Monitor your steroid side-effects.
After taking steroids As with many medications, steroids affect different people in different ways. Steroid side-effects At the end of your treatment with steroids, your specialist is likely to reduce your dosage gradually. If steroids don't work Although treatment plans are carefully developed by healthcare professionals to be as effective as possible while having the fewest risks or side-effects, sometimes steroids might not work.
Find out more Back to the top. Tips from our community "Steroids gave me a massive appetite and constipation - not a nice combination! Frequently asked questions. How long will I need to take steroids for? Carry it with you at all times. Your doctor may advise carrying it for up to a year after your steroid treatment has ended. What if I forget to take my steroids? More information. Treating brain tumours with steroids factsheet - PDF Find out more about steroids in the full fact sheet.