Author Topic: MS vision loss could be helped by OTC allergy drug  (Read 87 times)

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Offline agate

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MS vision loss could be helped by OTC allergy drug
« on: April 19, 2016, 04:39:41 pm »
From Medical News Today, April 13, 2016:

Quote
MS vision loss could be helped by OTC drug


Written by Marie Ellis

An antihistamine that is sold over the counter to treat allergies has been shown to partially reverse vision damage in people with multiple sclerosis. Results of the study are being presented this week at the American Academy of Neurology's 68th Annual Meeting in Vancouver, Canada.

Blurred vision is often one of the first symptoms of MS, typically appearing between 20-40 years of age.

The drug, called clemastine fumarate [brand names Dayhist-1, Tavist Allergy], is a histamine H1 antagonist, which means it blocks histamine action at the H1 receptor, relieving allergic symptoms.

...



Because the immune system destroys myelin [in multiple sclerosis], it eventually damages the nerves themselves. Signals to and from the brain become much slower. As a result, optic nerve damage is common in MS.


For their study - led by Dr. Ari Green, of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) - the researchers used 50 participants with MS and optic neuropathy, which is damage to the nerve that sends signals from the eye to the brain.

Over the course of 5 months, the participants - who were of an average age of 40 and who had MS for an average of 5 years - performed vision tests at the beginning and end of the study.

The researchers note that all participants had evidence of a stable chronic optic neuropathy, which means they were not recovering from their vision damage.

For one visual test, the researchers recorded the time it took for a signal to travel from the retina to the visual cortex. For a participant to be included, they had to have a transmission delay longer than 118 milliseconds in at least one eye, as well as evidence that they had a sufficient amount of nerve fibers to reinsulate.

According to the team, improvement in transmission delay is a biomarker of myelin repair.

During the first 3 months of the study, participants were either given clemastine fumarate or a placebo. Then, for the second 2 months, the participants initially given the placebo were given the drug, and vice versa.

Results showed that the patients who were taking the drug exhibited reduced delays in each eye - an average of about 2 milliseconds.

"This study is exciting because it is the first to demonstrate possible repair of that protective coating in people with chronic demyelination from MS," says Dr. Green. He adds that it "was done using a drug that was identified at UCSF only 2.5 years ago as an agent with the potential to help brain repair."

However, he warns that more research needs to be conducted before doctors can recommend the drug for people with MS.

Dr. Green adds:


"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.


Findings are preliminary, but 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."

A common side effect of clemastine fumarate is drowsiness, and study participants reported a small increase in fatigue while taking it.

Researchers are currently developing new medications that Dr. Green says are capable of more powerful effects.

The article can be seen here.
MS Speaks--online for 13 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

Offline agate

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More on this in DocGuide.com, April 19, 2016:

Quote
Clemastine Fumarate May Reverse Chronic Vision Damage Caused by Multiple Sclerosis

VANCOUVER -- April 12, 2016 -- A common antihistamine, clemastine fumarate, partially reversed damage to the visual system in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to findings from a study that will be presented at the 68th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN).

“This study is exciting because it is the first to demonstrate possible repair of that protective coating in people with chronic demyelination from MS,” said Ari Green, MD, Multiple Sclerosis Center, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, California. “This was done using a drug that was identified at UCSF only 2.5 years ago as an agent with the potential to help with brain repair.”

The 5-month study involved 50 people with an average age of 40 years who had MS for an average of 5 years and had mild disability. They all had evidence of a stable chronic optic neuropathy, meaning that they were not recovering from a recent optic neuritis.

Participants performed vision tests at the start and end of the study. For the visual evoked potential, the time for transmission of signal from the retina to the visual cortex was recorded. To be included in the study, participants had to have a delay in transmission time beyond 118 milliseconds in at least 1 eye and had to have evidence that they had an adequate number of nerve fibres to reinsulate.

For the first 3 months of the study, people were given either clemastine fumarate or a placebo. For the second 2 months, those initially given the drug received the placebo and vice versa.

During the study, delays were reduced by an average of slightly less than 2 milliseconds in each eye per patient among those who received the antihistamine.

“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,” said Dr. Green. “Findings are preliminary, but 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.”

Study participants did report a modest increase in fatigue while taking the drug.

Dr. Green cautioned that more research with larger numbers of people is needed before doctors can recommend clemastine fumarate for people with MS, and that newer medications capable of even more powerful effects are in development, including efforts intended to improve the targeting and reduce side effects from these drugs.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology
MS Speaks--online for 13 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.

 

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