MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?
Dr. Wall: We studied patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (formerly called pseudotumor cerebri) with mild visual loss. We found that subjects taking acetazolamide, a type of diuretic, along with a low sodium weight loss program had significantly better visual outcomes than those taking placebo along with the diet.
MedicalResearch.com: Were any of the findings unexpected?
1. Acetazolamide improved vision and symptoms independent of the amount of weight loss.
2. Acetazolamide prevented severe visual field worsening (treatment failures).
3. Patients with higher grades of optic disc swelling regained much more vision than those with lower grades.
4. Acetazolamide, in spite of having side effects, improves patients’ quality of life scores.
MedicalResearch.com: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Wall: The main message is that there for the first time, data from a properly controlled clinical trial to guide therapy in idiopathic intracranial hypertension patients. In IIH patients with mild visual loss, acetazolamide when combined with a low sodium weight reduction program improves vision, reduces optic disc swelling and improves quality of life. The medication was well tolerated with no known permanent untoward side effects.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Dr. Wall: Future research should be aimed at finding the cause of idiopathic intracranial hypertension. Secondly, we need another clinical trial to develop protocols for treating more severe visual loss.