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Seizure Drug Might Have Cosmetic Uses

Early study touts drug's ability to improve the appearance of scars

THURSDAY, Feb. 19, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- An anti-seizure drug may improve the appearance of scars, claims University of Florida research in the current issue of Dermatology Online Journal.

The preliminary study found an improvement in the way scars looked when patients were given low doses of topirmate, a drug usually prescribed for people with epilepsy.

For the study, 10 adults who had had discolored or raised scars for at least two years were given topirmate orally for a month and then their scars were assessed. The scars on two patients were ranked as "very much improved," those on four patients as "much improved" and those on four others as "minimally improved."

"It's interesting to think that a compound that helps calm seizures might have some completely different effect on the body," researcher Dr. Nathan Shapira says in a prepared statement.

"The age of the scars, characteristics like color and height of the scars, and the failure of other types of previous treatments in these patients all argue for the potential of this compound," he says. "A scar changing by itself is not likely."

Shapira is a principal in a patent application submitted by the University of Florida for topirmate's use for wound healing.

The next phase in determining whether the drug can improve the appearance of scars is to compare people taking topirmate with people taking a placebo.

More information

To learn more about scars, visit the American Academy of Dermatology.

SOURCE: University of Florida, news release, February 2004
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