Anti-seizure drug may guard against some cancers - 8 News NOW

Anti-seizure drug may guard against some cancers

Updated:
© iStockphoto.com / Thinkstock © iStockphoto.com / Thinkstock

MONDAY, March 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- A drug used to treat seizures may reduce the risk of head and neck cancers, a new study suggests.

Valproic acid (Depakote) is prescribed to prevent seizures and also to control mood, but it is also being investigated for cancer prevention because it inhibits genetic changes that can lead to cancer.

The new study included nearly 440,000 U.S. veterans, including about 27,000 who were taking valproic acid for bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), migraines and seizures. Overall, veterans who took the drug for at least one year were 34 percent less likely to develop head and neck cancers than those who didn't take the drug, the investigators found.

The risk appeared to be even lower in those who took it in higher doses or for longer periods of time, according to the study published online March 24 in the journal Cancer.

Veterans who took valproic acid did not have a reduced risk for lung, bladder, colon or prostate cancers, said team leader Dr. Johann Christoph Brandes, of the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Emory University in Atlanta, and colleagues.

"A 34 percent risk reduction for the development of head and neck cancer with [valproic acid] use could result in the prevention of up to approximately 16,000 new cases and 3,000 to 4,000 annual deaths in the U.S. alone," Brandes said in a journal news release.

"Head and neck cancer is an important global health crisis, and low cost and low toxicity prevention strategies like [valproic acid] use have a high potential impact on pain, suffering, costs, and [death] associated with this disease," he added.

Although the study found an association between valproic acid use and reduced risk of certain cancers, it did not prove cause-and-effect.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about head and neck cancers.

Copyright © 2014 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Paula's Health NotesLas Vegas Health NewsMore>>

  • Study touts health care workers with less than bachelor's degree

    Study touts health care workers with less than bachelor's degree

    Thursday, July 24 2014 12:08 AM EDT2014-07-24 04:08:05 GMT
    Among Las Vegas workers with less than a bachelor’s degree only 3.5 percent hold jobs in the most common health care occupations, the lowest percentage among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday night.More>>
    Among Las Vegas workers with less than a bachelor’s degree only 3.5 percent hold jobs in the most common health care occupations, the lowest percentage among the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Brookings Institution reported Wednesday night.More>>
  • Breath test can test for illnesses

    Breath test can test for illnesses

    Monday, July 21 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-21 19:00:17 GMT
    With most diseases, an early diagnosis means a better prognosis, but sometimes it's difficult, painful and expensive to test for illnesses. Now there's a new way to spot a variety of conditions and all it takes is a simple breath.More>>
    With most diseases, an early diagnosis means a better prognosis, but sometimes it's difficult, painful and expensive to test for illnesses. Now there's a new way to spot a variety of conditions and all it takes is a simple breath.More>>
  • Bariatric Surgery for Diabetes

    Bariatric Surgery for Diabetes

    Monday, July 21 2014 4:48 PM EDT2014-07-21 20:48:09 GMT
    Nearly 90 percent of people with type-two diabetes are obese and as more Americans gain weight, more will likely face a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, the American diabetes association predicts that one in three adults will have diabetes by the year 2050.More>>
    Nearly 90 percent of people with type-two diabetes are obese and as more Americans gain weight, more will likely face a diabetes diagnosis. In fact, the American diabetes association predicts that one in three adults will have diabetes by the year 2050.More>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KLAS. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.