Tuberculous meningitis-related optic neuritis: Recovery of vision with thalidomide in 4 consecutive cases

Schoeman J.F. ; Andronikou S. ; Stefan D.C. ; Freeman N. ; Van Toorn R. (2010)


Blindness is an uncommon but devastating complication of tuberculosis meningitis. The main causes are chronically raised intracranial pressure (hydrocephalus and/or tuberculomas) or direct involvement of the optic chiasm or optic nerves by the basal arachnoiditis (inflammation and/or compression). Antituberculosis therapy combined with corticosteroids and control of intracranial pressure constitutes the mainstay of therapy for tuberculous meningitis. Despite these treatment measures, some patients develop blindness, mainly as a result of progressive optochiasmatic arachnoiditis. This led us to explore the role of adjuvant thalidomide therapy, and we describe the dramatic recovery of vision in 4 consecutive cases. Clinical recovery was accompanied by marked radiological improvement on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain. © The Author(s) 2010.

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