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Drug Used For Epilepsy Could Help MS Patients with Vision Problems

Monday, June 15, 2015 @ 05:06 PM
Author: Amit Mathur

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Researchers may have found a drug to help people with multiple sclerosis (MS) protect them from potential vision loss.

Multiple sclerosis is a condition in which the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord are damaged, ultimately affecting nervous system. Some problems associated with MS are muscle spasms and difficulty moving, vision loss, problems with speaking, chronic pain and tiredness, vertigo, anxiety, depression amongst many other problems. The problems can depend on the location of the problems within the brain of the patient with MS.

But now, a drug, phenytoin, commonly used to prevent seizures within the epileptic community is thought to be able to help patients with MS control potential vision loss. Though these scientists are hoping to do larger-scale research, the results seem, so far, very promising.

Half of people with MS at some point in time suffer from something called ‘acute optic neuritis.’ Basically, it’s an inflammation of the optic nerve. Though often times temporary within MS patients, acute optic neuritis can cause sudden partial or total blindness, foggy or even darkened vision as well as pain. When a patient suffers any attacks with MS, they are treated with steroids in order to speed up recovery. And it’s effective but doesn’t reduce the long-term damage and risk to the eyes.

During the study, approximately 30 per cent of patients who received the drug (not the placebo) had less damage to the retinal nerve fiber. If these results persist with larger studies with more participants, then it will suggest that phenytoin might be able to help prevent nerve damage and blindness for people with MS.

It’s important to understand that vision loss can happen to anyone at any time, and it doesn’t discriminate against age, religion, or anything else. And there are certain diseases that do make us more prone to vision loss, either partial or total. Diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and as discussed, multiple sclerosis. It’s imperative that you see an eye doctor about any and all conditions you know about as well as any and all conditions in your family’s history in order to give him or her a complete medical picture.

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