Phenytoin (PHT), also known as Dilantin, gave rise to the Foundation's emphasis on thinking of innovative, cost-effective solutions to health problems and optimizing the use of available resources. PHT was first synthesized in the early 1900s by a German chemist. It was introduced into clinical practice in the United States in 1937 as the first non-sedative treatment for epilepsy. After treatment with PHT led to his recovery from an endogenous depression, Jack Dreyfus founded the Dreyfus Medical Foundation over 35 years ago to study, collect, and disseminate current information and sponsor new research on the clinical uses of PHT. The research department of the Foundation has found that PHT has been reported useful for more than 70 symptoms and disorders, including depression, anxiety, mania, repetitive thinking, various types of pain, cardiac arrhythmias, neuromuscular disorders, impulsive aggression, cocaine abuse, Alzheimer's disease, burns, and wound and skin ulcer healing. The broader use of PHT, where medically indicated and in the best interests of patients, is important because it can be used in many places where other, more expensive medications are not available.
Since its inception, the Dreyfus Medical Foundation, which became the Dreyfus Health Foundation (DHF) in 1988, has been involved in sponsoring collaborative clinical and basic health research, both inside and outside the United States through a grant program; acquiring, maintaining, and disseminating health information; and conducting and attending national and international health meetings, conferences, and seminars. At the same time, the Foundation continues to disseminate published information on PHT's many uses and mechanisms of action to health professionals around the world.
Since 1970, four bibliographies summarizing and analyzing the medical literature on the uses of PHT have been distributed to physicians worldwide. These bibliographies were derived from the Foundation's library, which now contains over 18,000 papers on PHT. In addition to the phenytoin bibliography, The Broad Range of Clinical Use of Phenytoin, Jack Dreyfus has published several books on the subject, including A Remarkable Medicine Has Been Overlooked, The Lion of Wall Street, The Story of a Remarkable Medicine, and Written in Frustration.