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AAN: Antihistamine May Help Reverse Optic Neuropathy in MS

Vision improvement with clemastine fumarate appears modest but results are promising

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WEDNESDAY, April 13, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Clemastine fumarate partially reverses optic neuropathy in patients with multiple sclerosis, according to a study scheduled to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology, held from April 15 to 21 in Vancouver, Canada.

The study was small, involving only 50 patients averaging 40 years of age. All had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis for an average of five years and were also diagnosed with optic neuropathy.

For three months, patients received either the antihistamine or a placebo. The groups were then switched for the last two months of the study. While taking the antihistamine, patients showed a slight improvement in terms of the delays in transmission of signal from the retina to the visual cortex.

The findings "are preliminary," study author Ari Green, M.D., assistant clinical director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at the University of California, San Francisco, stressed in a news release from the American Academy of Neurology. "But this study provides a framework for future multiple sclerosis repair studies and will hopefully herald discoveries that will enhance the brain's innate capacity for repair."

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