Optic Neuritis Multiple Sclerosis
Nerve fibers, or axons, are thought to be damaged in Optic Neuritis Multiple Sclerosis in part because they can become flooded with toxic levels of sodium from the surrounding tissue as a consequence of inflammation . Phenytoin, an oral therapy that has been used extensively to treat epilepsy, was selected for this study because it blocks sodium channels, which are tiny pores that allow the passage of sodium into axons. Laboratory studies suggested that doses equivalent to those used in epilepsy may be neuroprotective.
This Study: In a Phase 2 clinical trial researchers recruited 86 people who were experiencing early symptoms of acute Optic Neuritis Multiple Sclerosis. They were randomly assigned to receive either phenytoin or a placebo for 3 months to assess whether the pill could help to protect the retina, the light-sensitive nerve layer at the back of the eye, from damage. Optic Neuritis Multiple Sclerosis involves inflammation of the nerves carrying information between the eye and the brain, and it is often an early sign of MS.