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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Factors influencing phenytoin-induced gingival enlargement.

AIM: To ascertain the prevalence and severity of phenytoin-induced gingival enlargement (PIGE) as well as the relationship between PIGE and risk factors. METHOD: An outpatient population of patients on phenytoin treatment and attending the epilepsy clinic at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital (PMMH) in Durban, South Africa, was requested to participate. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on patients' demographics, social habits (e.g., drinking and smoking), dental and oral hygiene practices and medication history. Gingival enlargement, dental plaque and gingival bleeding was also measured to assess gingival health. Venous blood was collected for serum folate and phenytoin serum levels measurements. A regression analyses was then undertaken to ascertain the association between PIGE and the risk factors. Factors tested for correlation were serum phenytoin and folate levels, age, bacterial plaque, gingival inflammation, toothbrushing, smoking and alcohol consumption. The association between PIGE and the risk factors was assessed either individually, i.e., as a single entity or in combination--multifactorially. RESULTS: Of the 134 patients studied, 62% had PIGE scores > or = 1, while 8% had a PIGE score of zero. With the exception of plaque, which showed a moderate association with PIGE (r=0.4), no other factor on its own was statistically significantly related to PIGE. In the multiple linear regression analysis, factors which on their own did not have a strong influence became more important. Bacterial plaque (p=0.0001), younger age (p=0.01) and higher free serum phenytoin levels (p= 0.03), were associated with PIGE. Although known to be associated with periodontal diseases, smoking and alcohol, (p=0.03 and p=0.04 respectively), appeared to give some protection against PIGE. CONCLUSION: Risk factors associated with PIGE may have a synergistic effect. Bacterial plaque, however, appears the most important determinant of PIGE severity. This latter finding emphasises the importance of instituting a preventive plaque-control programme, particularly in young patients on phenytoin therapy.[1]


  1. Factors influencing phenytoin-induced gingival enlargement. Majola, M.P., McFadyen, M.L., Connolly, C., Nair, Y.P., Govender, M., Laher, M.H. Journal of clinical periodontology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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