Other Drug Treatments for Adult Brain and Spinal Cord Tumors

Some drugs commonly used in people with brain tumors do not treat the tumors directly, but they may help lessen symptoms from the tumor or its treatment.


Corticosteroid drugs such as dexamethasone (Decadron) are often given to reduce swelling around brain tumors. This may help relieve headaches and other symptoms.

Anti-seizure drugs (anti-epileptics)

Drugs may also be given to lower the chance of seizures in people with brain tumors. Different anti-seizure drugs can be used. Because many of these drugs can affect how other drugs such as chemotherapy work in the body, they are not usually given unless the tumor has caused seizures.


The pituitary gland helps control the levels of many different hormones in the body. If the pituitary gland is damaged by the tumor itself or by tumor treatments (such as surgery or radiation therapy), you may need to take pituitary hormones or other hormones to replace those missing.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: March 5, 2014 Last Revised: January 21, 2016

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