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While chronic use of indwelling micromachined neural prosthetic devices has great potential, the development of reactive responses around them results in a decrease in electrode function over time. Since the cellular events responsible for these responses may be anti-inflammatory in nature, we have tested the effectiveness of dexamethasone and cyclosporin A as potential drugs for developing intervention strategies following insertion of single-shank micromachined silicon devices. Peripheral injection of dexamethasone was effective in attenuating increased expression of glial fibrillary acidic protein and astrocyte hyperplasia observed during both initial- and sustained-reactive responses observed at one and six weeks post insertion, respectively. Peripheral injection of cyclosporin A had no positive effect. If anything, application of this drug increased the early reactive response. Effectiveness of local release of dexamethasone in rat neocortex was tested by inserting ribbons of poly (ethyl-vinyl) acetate containing 35% (w/w) dexamethasone. Initial concentrations of dexamethasone were similar to those obtained by peripheral injection. Local drug release provided continued control of cellular reactive responses during the six-week study period. These results demonstrate that peripheral delivery of dexamethasone can be used to control reactive responses and that local drug delivery by slow-release from biocompatible polymers may be a more effective method of drug intervention. Incorporating these strategies on micromachined devices may provide an intervention strategy that will insure the chronic functioning of electrodes on intracortical neuroprosthetic devices.