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[Intracranial hypertension with severe and irreversible reduced acuity and impaired visual fields after oral tetracycline]

Author(s): Altinbas A, Hoogstede HA, Bakker SL

Affiliation(s): Amphia Ziekenhuis, Molengracht 21, 489rg CK Breda.

Publication date & source: 2005-08-20, Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd., 149(34):1908-12.

Publication type: Case Reports; English Abstract

A young, non-obese woman aged 24 years with normal blood pressure developed intracranial hypertension after the oral use of tetracycline. Neuro-ophthalmologic examination revealed severely reduced acuity, papilledema, and concentric impaired visual fields. She was treated with acetazolamide and recurrent lumbar punctures and recovered, but without improvement in either acuity or visual fields. Intracranial hypertension is a fairly rare disease characterised by increased intracranial pressure without structural abnormalities in the brain or hydrocephalus, and is termed idiopathic in the absence of an underlying cause. Tetracycline should be considered as a cause of intracranial hypertension if a patient complains of previously unknown headache a few days after its ingestion. Headache and the presence of bilateral papilledema, decreased visual acuity and visual-field defects are indications for urgent referral to a neurologist. Therapy consists of a combination of repetitive lumbar punctures and medication. Surgical interventions include lumboperitoneal shunting and optic nerve fenestration. Intracranial hypertension may lead to irreversible decreased visual acuity and visual-field defects resulting in disability.

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