Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: the association between weight loss and the requirement for systemic treatment

BMC Ophthalmol. 2007 Sep 21;7:15. doi: 10.1186/1471-2415-7-15.


Background: To determine whether weight loss is significantly associated with a discontinuation of treatment for idiopathic intracranial hypertension

Methods: The notes of 36 patients with idiopathic intracranial hypertension under regular review for at least 12 months by a single neuro-ophthalmologist were retrospectively reviewed. Weight was recorded at each assessment and weight loss recommended. Treatment was adjusted according to symptoms, visual function including visual fields and optic disc appearance only. Patients were divided according to duration of continuous follow-up, and then sub-divided as to whether they were on or not on treatment at most recent review and whether weight loss had been achieved compared to presentation. Survival analysis was performed to assess the probability of remaining on treatment having lost weight.

Results: Considering the patients as 3 groups, those with at least 12 months follow-up (n = 36), those with at least 18 months follow-up (n = 24) and those with 24 months or more follow-up (n = 19), only the group with 24 months or more follow-up demonstrated a significant association between weight loss and stopping systemic treatment (Fisher's exact test, p = 0.04). Survival analysis demonstrated that the probability of being on treatment at 5 years having gained weight was 0.63 and having lost weight was 0.38 (log rank test, p = 0.04). The results suggest that final absolute body mass index is more important than the change in body mass index for patients who stop treatment (Mann Whitney U, p = 0.05).

Conclusion: This is the first study to demonstrate that weight loss is associated with discontinuation of treatment. Unlike previous studies, our results suggest that final absolute body mass index is more important for stopping treatment than a proportional reduction in weight.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / therapy*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Survival Analysis
  • Weight Loss*