Drugs to Help with Symptoms in Children with Brain or Spinal Cord Tumors

Children with brain or spinal cord tumors can often be given drugs to help with symptoms from the tumor or side effects of treatment. These drugs do not treat the tumor directly, but they can be important an important part of your child's treatment.

Corticosteroids

Cortisone-like drugs such as dexamethasone (Decadron) are often given to reduce the swelling that can occur around brain tumors. They are often given before and for a few days after surgery, and might be used during radiation therapy as well. This may help relieve side effects such as headaches, nausea, and vomiting.

Anti-seizure drugs (anticonvulsants)

Drugs may be given to lower the chance of seizures in children with brain tumors. Many different anti-seizure drugs can be used.

Hormones

The pituitary gland, which lies at the base of the brain, helps control the levels of many different hormones in the body. If the pituitary has been damaged by the spread of the tumor or by treatments (surgery or radiation therapy), your child may need to take pituitary hormones or other hormones to replace those that are no longer being made by the body.

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Last Medical Review: June 20, 2018 Last Revised: June 20, 2018

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