Low-Grade Astrocytoma Medication

Updated: Oct 27, 2014
  • Author: George I Jallo, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Medication

Medication Summary

No specific drugs are recommended for treatment of low-grade glioma; however, certain conditions (in the setting of low-grade astrocytoma) typically require treatment. For seizures, the patient usually is started on phenytoin or carbamazepine. Vasogenic edema around the tumor typically is treated with steroids. When administering steroids, typically some form of antiulcer agent is used.

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Anticonvulsants

Class Summary

These agents are used to treat and prevent seizures.

Phenytoin (Dilantin)

In general, acts to block sodium channels and prevent repetitive firing of action potentials. As such, is very effective anticonvulsant. First-line drug in partial and generalized tonic-clonic seizures.

Carbamazepine (Tegretol)

Like phenytoin, acts by interacting with sodium channels and blocking repetitive neuronal firing. First-line drug in partial seizures and may be used for tonic-clonic seizures as well. Serum levels should be checked.

Levetiracetam (Keppra)

Used as adjunct therapy for partial seizures and myoclonic seizures. Also indicated for primary generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Mechanism of action is through modulation of neurotransmitter release through binding to the synaptic vesicle protein SV2A in the brain.

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Corticosteroids

Class Summary

These agents reduce edema around the tumor, frequently leading to symptomatic and objective improvement.

Dexamethasone (Decadron, AK-Dex, Alba-Dex, Dexone, Baldex)

Postulated mechanisms of action of corticosteroids in brain tumors include reduction in vascular permeability, cytotoxic effects on tumors, inhibition of tumor formation, and decreased CSF production.

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