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Anti-Seizure Medications May Interact With Chemotherapy:

Certain anticonvulsants (medications used to treat seizure disorders) may speed up the breakdown of several chemotherapy medications making them less effective, according to a recent report published in The Lancet.

Researchers at St.Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, identified 716 children who underwent treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Forty (40) of the 716 children also received an anticonvulsant medication for 30 days or more during chemotherapy treatments. The anticonvulsants were found to significantly increase the risk of relapse and lower survival.

The seizure medications causing this drug interaction do so by "inducing" enzymes in the liver, which speed up the breakdown of the chemotherapy drugs, thereby making them less effective. The St. Jude researchers suggest the use of non-enzyme inducing seizure medications for patients receiving certain types of chemotherapy.

To learn how to access this article, visit The Lancet website at www.lancet.com (Lancet 2000; 356:285-290).

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