High-dose busulfan (BU) followed by high-dose cyclophosphamide (CY) before allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) has long been used as treatment for hematologic malignancies. Administration of phenytoin or newer alternative antiepileptic medications (AEMs) prevents seizures caused by BU. Phenytoin induces enzymes that increase exposure to active CY metabolites in vivo, whereas alternative AEMs do not have this effect. Lower exposure to active CY metabolites with the use of alternative AEMs could decrease the risk of toxicity but might increase the risk of recurrent malignancy after HCT. Previous studies have not determined whether outcomes with alternative AEMs differ from those with phenytoin in patients treated with BU/CY before allogeneic HCT. We studied a cohort of 2155 patients, including 1460 treated with phenytoin and 695 treated with alternative AEMs, who received BU/CY before allogeneic HCT between 2004 and 2014. We found no differences suggesting decreased overall survival or relapse-free survival or increased risks of relapse, nonrelapse mortality, acute or chronic graft-versus-host disease, or regimen-related toxicity associated with the use of alternative AEMs compared with phenytoin. The risk of dialysis was lower in the alternative AEM group than in the phenytoin group. Alternative AEMs are safe for prevention of seizures after BU administration and can avoid the undesirable toxicities and drug interactions caused by phenytoin.
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