You are viewing AANS Neurosurgeon Volume 27, Number 3, 2018. View our current issue, Volume 28, Number 4, 2019

AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 3, 2018

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Altitude Sickness Drug Appears to Slow Progression of Glioblastoma

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Acetazolamide increased sensitivity to treatment and enhanced survival in mice

A drug used to treat altitude sickness — as well as glaucoma, epilepsy, heart failure and seizures — may also offer significant gains for patients with a fast-growing brain tumor known as glioblastoma, according to a study.

The drug, acetazolamide, sold under the trade name Diamox, is “cheap to make, easy to take and has limited side effects,” said study director Bahktiar Yamini, MD, a professor of neurosurgery at the University of Chicago Medicine.

“I take it myself, whenever I go to the Rocky Mountains,” he said, “two pills a day.” The most common side effect of Diamox is “a metallic taste when drinking something carbonated.”

The most frequently used chemotherapy for gliomas is a drug called temozolomide (TMZ). However, not all patients respond to this drug. Median survival with this disease is about 14 months.

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