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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.

1. Optic Neuritis Study Group. The clinical profile of acute optic neuritis: experience of the Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial. Arch Ophthalmol 1991;109:1673-1678.
2. Beck RW, Cleary PA, Anderson MA, et al. A randomized, controlled trial of corticosteroids in the treatment of acute optic neuritis. N Engl J Med 1992;326:581-588.
3. Beck RW, Cleary PA, Trobe JD, et al. The effect of corticosteroids for acute optic neuritis on the subsequent development of multiple sclerosis. N Engl J Med 1993;329:1764-1769.
4. Beck RW, Trobe JD. The Optic Neuritis Treatment Trial: putting the results in perspective. J Neuro-ophthalmology 1995;15:3:131-135.
5. Five year risk of multiple sclerosis after optic neuritis: experience of the ONTT Neuritis Study Group. Neurology 1997;49:1404-1413.
6. Jacobs LD, Beck RW, Simon JH, Kinkel RP, et al. Intramuscular Interferon ß-1A Therapy Initiated During a First Demyelinating Event in Multiple Sclerosis. The CHAMPS Study Group. N Engl J Med 2000;343:3:898-904.
7. Beck RW, Trobe JD, Moke PS, et al. High and Low Risk Profiles for the Development of MS within 10 years after Optic neuritis. Arch Ophthalmol 2003; 121:944-949.

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