Known as the brand name anti-epileptic drug Dilantin, Phenytoin has recently piqued the interests of Multiple Sclerosis research and development teams. Study results shared from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London have been hopeful for patients with MS who were treated with Phenytoin, in response to their cases of acute optic neuritis. While complete data is yet to be shared at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology’s 67th Annual Meeting, information shared thus far has excited R&D folks seeking to ease the burden of optic nerve damage for patients suffering from MS. Over 80 percent of patients with Multiple Sclerosis will experience vision difficulties due to optic nerve conditions, and the possible remedy of Phenytoin is encouraging.
As an anticonvulsant drug used mainly to treat patients with forms of epilepsy, Phenytoin works by slowing down impulses in the brain which cause seizure activity. Patients enrolled in the aforementioned ground breaking study were all diagnosed with both MS and acute optic neuritis. There were 86 patients enrolled and they were randomly assigned to either the Phenytoin group of 4 milligrams daily or a placebo group. The trial lasted approximately three months, with patients being evaluated via optical coherence tomography. The study participants all received the optical coherence tomography, which measured the thickness of the retina, at the commencement of the study and six months after the conclusion of the trial. Patients were also assessed for general eyesight, including sharpness and color perception. Study results gleaned showed that the patient population who received Phenytoin experienced roughly 30 percent less retinal nerve fiber damage as compared to the placebo group. Additionally, patients who were administered Phenytoin demonstrated a 34 percent higher volume of the macula. After episodes of acute optic neuritis were resolved, study researchers found that the patients who received Phenytoin experienced a return to normal vision. These results have suggested to researchers that Phenytoin holds a viable key to the prevention of nerve damage and blindness in patients with MS. While adverse effects are possible from Phenytoin, such as constipation, nausea and headache, no patients in this study withdrew due to side effects.
Vision difficulties are unfortunately part of the initial signs and symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, including several distinct types of eye complications:
- MS Diplopia- also known as the term “double vision”, this eye condition occurs when MS attacks either the cerebellum or brainstem. Patients experience frustration with Diplopia that typically last in bouts of eight weeks. However, some patients can experience this debilitating condition indefinitely.
- MS Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia-roughly 25 percent of patients diagnosed with MS at a young age experience this vision problem. The hallmark signs of Internuclear Ophthalmoplegia include blurry and/or double vision, dizziness and a feeling of moving when focusing on something stationary. The symptoms tend to last for several weeks before subsiding, although a small number of patients, particularly those people with a very progressive form of MS may experience relapses often.
- MS Nystagmus- as the most commonly reported eye condition in patients with Multiple Sclerosis, Nystagmus causes vertigo and blurry vision, which can be persistent for some people.
- MS Optic Neuritis- this condition is precipitated by inflammation in one or both optic nerves, which is unfortunately a common occurrence for patients with MS. An impairment in seeing colors, blurry vision, peripheral vision loss and pain in the eye are all symptoms of this challenging condition. The vast majority of patients may experience this condition for about six to eight weeks, and return to normal or near-normal vision. A small number of patients who endure Optic Neuritis do experience permanent vision loss, sadly.
The use of Phenytoin for patients with MS who experience vision impairment as a consequence of the disease may indeed be the unexpected solution to this common problem. LGM Pharma can assist clients as a supplier/distributor of the API Phenytoin, CAS # 57-41-0 for research and development purposes. Clients can be assured of quality API products and continuous support throughout the R&D process.
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