Findings from the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial, January 21, 1992: This randomized, multicenter clinical trial was supported by the National Eye Institute, a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of corticosteroid treatment in over 450 patients with optic neuritis. It found that oral prednisone (prescribed in a dosage of 1 mg/kg/day for 14 days) was not only ineffective in speeding recovery or in improving the visual outcome after optic neuritis, but actually increased a patient's risk for future attacks in either the affected or fellow eye. Specifically, trial investigators found that 27 percent of the patients taking oral prednisone had at least one new attack of optic neuritis during followup, which for some patients was as long as two years. In contrast, patients who received an oral placebo had a 15 percent rate of subsequent optic neuritis. Based on these findings, the trial investigators have concluded that there is no role for oral prednisone alone in standard dosages in the treatment of patients with initial episodes of optic neuritis. The complete findings from this study are published in the N Engl J Med 1992 Feb 27;326(9):581-588. Contacts: Judith Stein or Bob Kuska (301) 496-5248.
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