Cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine (citicoline) improves retinal and cortical responses in patients with glaucoma

Ophthalmology. 1999 Jun;106(6):1126-34. doi: 10.1016/S0161-6420(99)90269-5.


Purpose: To evaluate the effects of cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine (citicoline) on retinal function and on cortical responses in patients with glaucoma.

Design: Randomized clinical trial.

Participants: Forty patients with open-angle glaucoma were randomly divided into two age-matched groups: citicoline group ([GC] n = 25) and placebo group ([GP] n = 15).

Methods: The GC patients were treated with Neuroton (citicoline, 1000 mg/day intramuscularly) for 60 days; GP patients were treated with placebo (physiologic solution with additives) for 60 days. After 120 days of washout (day 180), the GC patients were divided into two age-matched groups: in 10 patients (GC1 group) the washout was prolonged for a further 120 days; in 15 patients (GC2 group) a second 60-day period of citicoline treatment was followed by a second 120-day period of washout. At day 180, the washout was extended for another 180 days in GP patients. In all subjects, retinal and cortical responses were evaluated by simultaneous recordings of visual evoked potentials (VEPs) and pattern-electroretinograms (PERGs) at baseline, after 60 days, and after 180 days. At day 300, VEPs and PERGs were also evaluated in GC1 patients, and at 240 and 360 days in GC2 and GP patients.

Main outcome measures: Visual evoked potential parameters (P100 latency and N75-P100 amplitude); PERG parameters (P50 latency and P50-N95 amplitude); and intraocular pressure.

Results: The GP patients displayed similar VEP and PERG parameters in all examinations performed. In GC patients, the treatment with citicoline induced a significant (P < 0.01) improvement of VEP and PERG parameters, and their values were significantly different (P < 0.01) with respect to those of GP patients (P < 0.01). Visual evoked potentials and PERGs, recorded in GC patients after washout, revealed that although there was a worsening trend, the electrophysiologic improvement was still maintained. After a second period of washout, GC1 patients had VEP and PERG parameters similar (P > 0.05) to baseline ones and to those of GP patients. In GC2 patients, a second period of citicoline treatment induced a further (P < 0.01) improvement of VEP and PERG parameters

Conclusion: Citicoline may induce an improvement of the retinal and of the visual pathway function in patients with glaucoma.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Electroretinography
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / drug therapy*
  • Glaucoma, Open-Angle / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intramuscular
  • Intraocular Pressure
  • Middle Aged
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Retina / drug effects
  • Retina / physiopathology*
  • Visual Cortex / drug effects
  • Visual Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiopathology


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline