New Drugs on Horizon for Prolonged Brain Damage

By Pfeiffer, Naomi | Drug Topics, July 1, 1995 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

New Drugs on Horizon for Prolonged Brain Damage


Pfeiffer, Naomi, Drug Topics


For the first time, there are drugs within sight to protect brain cells from the motor and cognitive damage that continues long after the impact of severe head injury, international trauma experts told a recent seminar for medical writers in New York City.

"With impressive research from laboratories now being made available to physicians, coupled with very innovative drug development by pharmaceutical companies, several substantial remedies should be ready in two to three years," said Lawrence H. Pitts, M.D., chief of neurosurgery, University of California in San Francisco.

The need is urgent, he and other speakers stressed. Some 75,000 Americans annually sustain disabling brain damage from car crashes, gunshot wounds, or falls. The cost: about $25 billion.

Two promising antioxidant drugs--designed to reduce the damage that spreads through the brain after the initial trauma--have completed clinical trials in Europe and the United States, and their results are being analyzed. The data should be available this fall, said Pitts.

Tirilazad (Freedox, Upjohn) blocks the effects of free radicals that pour into the brain cells for days, even weeks, after impact. Speaking to one benefit from the drug, Pitts noted: "Preclinical research showed that when vasospasm set in, due to compression from swelling or bleeding, treatment with tirilazad led to reopening of blood vessels and restoration of blood flow to the brain," thereby heading off irreversible damage. Thus "we're eagerly awaiting the data analysis from nearly 3,000 patients," he said.

Similarly, the antioxidant superoxide dismutase (PEG-SOD, Sanofi-Sterling), a free-radical scavenger that just completed phase III trials in thousands of patients here and abroad, is also being analyzed.

Perhaps even more promising, several speakers said, are the new glutamate blockers, also called excitatory amino acid inhibitors, which have passed U.S. phase II safety trials and are starting phase III trials in trauma centers here.

Pharmaceutical companies are racing to produce antiglutamate. Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Burroughs Wellcome seem to be in the forefront at this time, according to Pitts.

A natural chemical, glutamate reaches levels up to 70% higher than normal in the traumatized brain, explained Tracy McIntosh, Ph.D., director of the head injury center, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

New Drugs on Horizon for Prolonged Brain Damage
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?