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Drug Used to Treat Epilepsy Shows Promise in Protecting Eyesight of MS Patients

Posted on February 15, 2016 by Disability Help Group

Acute optic neuritis is an eye condition that can occur in people who have multiple sclerosis. The condition is an inflammation of the ocular nerve and affects approximately half of the people who will develop MS in their lifetime. When a person develops this eye condition they can experience blurry vision, sudden and partial or total blindness, and pain.

Patients may recover their eyesight, but the condition can cause lasting damage. Doctors at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London, UK believe they have found a preventative measure against the eye condition in an unlikely place: the anticonvulsant drug phenytoin is a potential preventative measure against acute optic neuritis.

The researchers, led by Dr. Raju Kapoor, randomly prescribed 86 patients either phenytoin or a placebo. Those prescribed phenytoin showed a 30 percent reduction in retinal nerve damage. Furthermore, the macula part of the retina had a 34 percent higher average volume than the placebo group.

The research team followed up with the MS patients to determine any long-term effects of the phenytoin. They found that after the acute optic neuritis episode ended there was no difference in long-term visual outcomes in either treated or placebo patients.

Larger studies are needed to determine if doctors can recommend the phenytoin drug as a treatment for acute optic neuritis in addition to its current purpose as a treatment for epilepsy. Along with MS, partial or total blindness is another type of disability that can qualify for Social Security disability benefits. If you have any of these conditions and have been denied SSDI or SSI benefits, Disability Help Group is here to help with your appeal. Call today – 1-(800)-800-3332.