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Phenytoin, used orally and/or topically, promotes healing. The healing properties of oral PHT were first reported by Bodkin in 1945 in an extensive study of pruritus ani. Subsequently, oral PHT has been reported useful in the treatment of periodontal disease, scleroderma, epidermolysis bullosa, peptic ulcers, and a variety of skin and soft tissue wounds and ulcers.
Topical PHT has been demonstrated to relieve the pain and promote the healing of chronic soft tissue ulcers, including venous stasis, diabetic and decubitus ulcers, and also burns. Recently, PHT has been found effective in healing the chronic trophic ulcers of leprosy.
Relief of pain with topical PHT is prompt, usually occurring in a matter of minutes.
Biopsies of PHT-treated ulcers show increased formation of new blood vessels and increased collagen content. In addition, the scar tissue that forms is more flexible in PHT-treated wounds. Extensive laboratory studies have shown that PHT accelerates the healing and tensile strength of various wounds and fractures, stimulates fibroblast proliferation, increases collagen synthesis, content, and maturation in granulation tissue, and inhibits collagenase and collagen peptidase activity.