• Antiepileptic Drugs May Not Be Helpful For Patients With Brain Tumor and Without History of Seizures

    Seizures can be a common symptom of a brain tumor . Antiseizure medications are often prescribed as a preventative measure to patients with a brain tumor before a seizure occurs. However, the medications used for prevention can also have some serious side effects. In fact, some seizure medications can interfere with other medical treatments such as chemotherapy .
    Cochrane Database System performed a systematic review of several studies to review the effects of antiepileptic drug treatments for patients with a brain tumor. The antiepileptic drugs did not appear to have any added benefit but did demonstrate negative side effects such as nausea, blurred vision, tremor, and unsteady gait.

    About the Study

    Researchers reviewed results from five randomized trials. There were a total of 404 patients with brain tumor who had not had previous seizures. Patients were randomly assigned to a group treated with phenytoin (Dilantin, Phenytek), phenobarbital , and divalproex sodium ( Depakene, Depakote ), or to a placebo group (no medication).
    When all the data from the studies was combined, there were no significant differences in number of seizures between patients who received medication compared to the placebo group. First seizures occurred in 18.6% of the medication group and 20.1% of the placebo group. When results from three trials with 237 patients were combined, researcher found more adverse events (side effects) in the treated group (15.3% vs. 0.9%).
    Systematic review type studies can be very helpful when a disease is rare and it is difficult to study many patients. The review allows researchers to combine information from different studies to help make broader conclusions. In this case, the individual studies were somewhat different and of varied quality.

    How Does This Affect You?

    These results are not definitive but they are helpful for physicians who are debating whether to start medication or not. Symptoms from a brain tumor vary based on the size and location of the tumor. As a result, treatments are based on individual cases.
    Talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage symptoms. All medications have side effects that need to be considered when forming a treatment plan. You and your doctor will evaluate the risks and benefits of medication as it relates to your case.

    RESOURCES

    American Brain Tumor Association http://www.abta.org/

    National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF) http://www.braintumor.org

    References

    Tremont-Lukats I, Ratilal B, Armstrong T, Gilbert MR. Antiepileptic drugs for preventing seizures in people with brain tumors. Cochrane Database Syst Rev . 2008[2]:CD004424.

    Revision Information

  • Join WellZones today.

    Make a Change For LifeLearn more

    Wellmont LiveWell is creating a new tradition of wellness in the mountains by providing individuals with tools and encouragement to live healthier lifestyles.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    HeartSHAPE® Test Learn more

    Fight heart disease early and prevent heart attacks with HeartSHAPE® - a painless, non-invasive test that takes pictures of your heart to scan for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.


  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.