Gliadel Implants (Carmustine Implants, Gliadel Wafers)
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Gliadel Implants (Carmustine Implants, Gliadel Wafers)

  • Tuesday, 13 October 2009 02:39
  • Last Updated Thursday, 12 November 2009 00:43

  1. What are Gliadel Implants?
  2. Are Gliadel Implants approved for use in the UK?
  3. How do Gliadel Implants work?
  4. Do Gliadel Implants have to be removed?
  5. Possible side Effects
  6. Additional Information
  7. Published Research
  8. Useful BT Buddies Sections

What are Gliadel Implants?

Gliadel Implant

GLIADEL Implants are small biodegradable discs (see image, left) used to deliver the anticancer substance carmustine directly to the site of the Brain Tumour after the tumour has been removed by surgery. Carmustine belongs to a group of anticancer substances that act by slowing the growth of Cancer cells in brain.

GLIADEL Implants can be used in combination with radiation for the treatment of brain tumours.

Are gliadel implants approved for use in the UK?

In June 2007 NICE recommeded that Carmustine implants be used as a possible treatment for people with newly diagnosed high-grade Glioma only if 90% or more of their tumour has been removed and, as long as the patients surgeon is a dedicated neuro-oncology specialist.

How do Gliadel Implants work?

Gliadel implants are a new way to deliver Chemotherapy directly into the site of the brain tumour. They are placed in the brain during surgery to Debulk or remove the tumour. You can read a little more about brain surgery HERE.

The following video explains in more detail what Gliadel Implants and how they are used.

Please note this video is intended for people in the US but is still relevant for people in the UK.

Do the Gliadel IMplants have to be removed?

Gliadel Implants do not usually need to be removed. They dissolve slowly over a few weeks releasing carmustine to the surrounding cells.

Possible side Effects

Side effects that have been reported in studies of Gliadel Implant patients were slight increased risk of CSF leak and swelling. Although these events may occur after brain surgery alone, they may occur more frequently when Gliadel Implant is used. Seizures do not occur more often with Gliadel Implants, but they may occur sooner after surgery than if Gliadel Implants was not used.

Everyone's reaction to a medicine is different. It is difficult to predict which side effects you will have, or whether you will have any side effects at all. If at anytime you are concerned about any symptom which you feel may be related to your treatment, you should contact your neuro-oncology nurse specialist, your neuro-oncologist or your GP as soon as possible.

Additional Information

Complementary preparations and Supplements

If you are planning to take or are already taking any complementary preparations and supplements you should ask your medical team whether there are any known interactions with Gliadel implants.

They can advise whether it is appropriate for you to take combinations that are known to interact. They can also discuss with you the possible effect that the complementary preparations and supplements may have on your condition.

If you experience any unusual effects while taking this medicine in combination with complementary preparations and supplements, you should tell your medical team immediately.

BT Buddies recommends you thoroughly research any complementary therapies or supplements and discuss in details your findings with your Neuro-Oncologist or another member of your medical team before adding them to your treatment regime.

Family Planning and Pregnancy

The effect of different medicines on a baby in the womb differs between medicines and also depends on the stage of pregnancy that you have reached when you take the medicine.

In the case of Gliadel Implants (Carmustine):

  • you must not use Gliadel Implants (Carmustine) during pregnancy. If you could become pregnant, you must use effective contraception. You must contact your doctor if you become pregnant, or think you have become pregnant, during treatment with Gliadel Implants (Carmustine).

You should discuss your personal circumstances with your doctor if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant. This is so that together you can make a decision about what treatment you may need during your pregnancy.

You should also discuss whether there are any other medicines which you could take during pregnancy which would treat your condition.


Certain medicines can pass into breast milk and may reach your baby through breast-feeding.

In the case of Gliadel Implants (Carmustine), women who are breast-feeding must not take this medicine

Before you have your baby you should discuss breast-feeding with your doctor or midwife. If you wish to breast-feed you should discuss with your doctor whether there are any other medicines you could take which would also allow you to breast-feed. You should not stop this medicine without taking advice from your doctor.

Published Research

  1. To find a comprehensive list of research papers on Carmustine click here
  2. NICE Guidance on Gliadel Implants
  3. Further information on Gliadel Implants

Useful BT Buddies Sections

The following areas of the BT Buddies website may be useful if you have been prescribed Gliadel Implants:

Relevant Website Sections
Coping with Fatigue
Nausea and Vomiting


1. Archimedes Pharma

2. National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE)

3. Edinburgh Neuro-oncology information leaflet


5. Virtual Trials


MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: All the information provided by this website and forum is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for brain tumours or any other medical conditions. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your doctors. The articles on this website are just the opinions of the authors. We (BT Buddies) do not necessarily agree with the concepts expressed.

Please review any news or information you see on this website with your own Doctor in order to obtain actual medical advice. You should never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.

This article has been reviewed by Mr Paul L Grundy BM(Hons) MD FRCS(SN), Consultant Neurosurgeon, Wessex Neurological Centre & Spire Hospital, Southampton, UK, to make sure it is accurate and up to date.


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