Phenytoin repositioned in wound healing: clinical experience spanning 60 years

Drug Discov Today. 2018 Feb;23(2):402-408. doi: 10.1016/j.drudis.2017.09.020. Epub 2017 Oct 6.


Drug repositioning is hot, and much development time and money can be spared if one selects an old drug and explores the efficacy and safety in a new indication. Phenytoin is studied and repositioned in many disorders after the initial indication epilepsy (from 1937). Its repositioning in depression was put in the spotlight by the Wall Street icon Jack Dreyfus, already in the 1970s. Innovations in the field of phenytoin still appear to be possible for a number of indications such as wound healing, bipolar disorder and aggression, and via a topical formulation for neuropathic pain. We will discuss wound healing and identified a number of critical issues related to its repositioning in this indication.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy
  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical / methods
  • Drug Repositioning / methods
  • Humans
  • Neuralgia / drug therapy
  • Phenytoin / administration & dosage*
  • Wound Healing / drug effects*


  • Phenytoin