Multiple sclerosis-related optic neuropathy can be reversed with allergy drugs (antihistamines), according to research. The preliminary findings uncovered that clemastine fumarate – an allergy medication – partially reversed optic neuropathy in multiple sclerosis (MS). Optic neuropathy is the damage of the optic nerve, which relays information from the eyes to the brain.
Study author Dr. Ari Green said, “While the improvement in vision appears modest, this study is promising because it is the first time a drug has been shown to possibly reverse the damage done by MS.”
The small study involved 50 participants, all with multiple sclerosis and optic neuropathy. Over the course of three months, patients either received the antihistamine or a placebo. For the last two months of the study, the groups switched their treatment.
Patients on the antihistamines showed slight improvement in terms of delays in the time it took for visual information to travel from the eye to the brain.
While the research is very much in their early stage, Green stressed that, “…this study provides a framework for future MS repair studies and will hopefully herald discoveries that will enhance the brain’s innate capacity for repair.”
Dr. Paul Wright, chair of neurology at North Shore University Hospital, added, “This is the first study showing possible reversible damage from multiple sclerosis. The study is however small and further investigation is warranted. Nevertheless, this is an exciting new avenue in the treatment of this condition.”
Treatment options for vision damage in multiple sclerosis
Vision problems in multiple sclerosis are a common occurrence and are often one of the first signs of multiple sclerosis. Depending on severity, there are a few different options available to treat vision damage in multiple sclerosis including:
Steroid injections: Although this treatment won’t offer long-term support, it can help speed up the recovery.
Eye patch: Covering the affected eye can help minimize nausea and dizziness, especially if you are experiencing double vision.
Medications: Medications may be prescribed to help ease side effects of vision disturbances.
Being able to recognize multiple sclerosis triggers for your visual problems can help reduce the occurrence, making them easier to manage. Warm temperature is one of the common triggers. You can work closely with your doctor to help uncover what causes complications in your case, so that you can better avoid the triggers, properly manage your symptoms, and try to reduce their severity.
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