• Written By: Fiona E. Costello, MD, FRCP

    The results of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggest that gabapentin and memantine represent treatment options for patients with congenital nystagmus. While previous studies have shown that these drugs can reduce pendular and acquired forms of nystagmus, the current study found that memantine and gabapentin each improved visual acuity, nystagmus, and foveation scores in congenital nystagmus patients.

    The study's authors randomly assigned 48 congenital nystagmus patients to receive memantine, gabapentin, or placebo for 56 days. Visual acuity and eye movement scores were measured, and patients completed subjective questionnaires regarding their visual and social function.

    The researchers found significant mean visual acuity improvements in the memantine and gabapentin treatment groups. Eye movement recordings showed that nystagmus improved with respect to intensity and foveation. Patients who took memantine or gabapentin reported greater improvements compared with those given placebo, but the differences between the treatment and placebo groups were not significant since patients from all three groups said they improved.

    Financial Disclosures
    Dr. Costello is a consultant to Biogen Inc. Ltd., Merck Serono, Berlex Laboratories, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. She receives lecture fees from Biogen, Berlex, Boehringer, Merck Serono, and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.