Neurology Study Shows How to Prevent Nerve Damage Related to MS
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is sometimes indicated by the common symptom optic neuritis, in which the optic nerve carrying visual data from the eye to the brain becomes damaged due to inflammation.
Dr. Raj Kapoor, of the Institute of Neurology at University College London, had his findings on optic neuritis published in The Lancet Neurology. The study found that phenytoin, an anti-seizure drug, protects against nerve damage in optic neuritis patients.
Excess sodium in nerve cells causes an overproduction of calcium, which, in turn, causes nerve damage. The study goal was to distinguish whether phenytoin blocks sodium from entering the nerve cell axons.
“We wanted to find out if the theory that blocking sodium currents, which we developed in basic work over many years, actually served to protect neural tissue – a test-bed to see if we can achieve neuroprotection,” stated Dr. Kapoor.
Details of the MS Clinical Research Study
86 patients with optic neuritis, ages 18-60, were enrolled and randomized into 3 groups. Every day for 3 months, Group 1 received 4 mg/kg of phenytoin, Group 2 received 6 mg/kg, and Group 3 received the placebo. In order to measure retinal nerve fiber layer thickness to check for nerve damage, each individual had his or her results measured through an optical coherence tomography.
The OCT showed that the phenytoin groups showed to have 30% less damage to the RNFL than to those in the placebo group.
Value to Fighting Multiple Sclerosis
While currently, there are no treatments that directly protect nerve damage in MS patients, this study could be of great value to not only those with optic neuritis, but to those with multiple sclerosis as well.
Dr. Emma Gray, head of clinical trials at the UK’s MS Society, said, “Our goal is to ensure all people with MS have access to effective treatments that can slow, stop or reverse the damage caused in MS. This trial brings us one step closer to that goal.”
Since phenytoin has already been approved for clinical use, the feasibility with which it may be applied to MS patients may come about at a swift pace, instead of going through the usual lengthy R&D process a newly introduced drug must endure.
Help Continue This Work By Enrolling as a Patient
Multiple sclerosis does not have a cure as of yet, but there are many promising treatments that can help to slow the effects and symptoms of this condition. With that said, in order to tackle this problem for good, clinical research studies like this need to continue, and in order to these studies, they need the help of patients enrolling in the clinical trials. If you would to help continue to fight MS further, sign up with Clinical Trial Spotlight and stay up to date on the latest in MS breakthroughs. Together, we can help to end conditions like MS once and for all.