Last Updated on June 2, 2019

Idiopathic intracranial hypertension is a condition that causes the pressure in the fluid system of the brain to go up. It can have a number of effects, including causing headaches, pulsatile tinnitus (a whooshing sound in the ears), dizziness, a dislike of bright lights (photophobia), neck pain, and visual loss (the most serious of the consequences of the condition).

Treatment includes weight loss and a drug called acetazolamide, as well as shunting of the fluid and vein stenting where appropriate.

Finally, a clinical trial demonstrates that the diet and the drug also are effective.

The trial consisted of 165 newly diagnosed untreated patients who were prescribed a low-calorie diet, provided with a weight-loss counselor, and randomly assigned to either daily acetazolamide or placebo (non-active drug).

The results, presented at the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society 2015 Annual Meeting, showed those given drug lost 6% of their body weight compared to 3% on the diet alone. Vision measures improved in the acetazolamide group, but seemed to get worse in the diet only group, these included a number of objective measures of disc swelling.

North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society (NANOS) 2015 Annual Meeting. Presented February 25, 2015.

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