Cytidine-5'-diphosphocholine (Citicoline): a pilot study in patients with non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy

Eur J Neurol. 2008 May;15(5):465-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2008.02099.x. Epub 2008 Mar 5.


Background and purpose: Our work evaluates visual function before and after treatment with cytidine-5-diphosphocholine (Citicoline) in patients with non-arteritic ischaemic optic neuropathy (NION).

Methods: Twenty-six patients in which at least 6 months elapsed from NION, were randomly divided into two age-similar groups: 14 patients had Citicoline (Cebrolux-Tubilux, Italy, 1600 mg/diem for 60 days, followed by a 120-day period of wash out, days 60-180) (T-NION); 12 patients had no treatment during the same period (NT-NION). At day 180, in T-NION a second period of treatment (days 181-240) followed by a wash-out (days 241-360) was performed. Fourteen age-matched healthy subjects provided normative data. In all patients, pattern-electroretinogram (PERG), visual evoked potentials (VEPs) and visual acuity (VA) measurements were performed at baseline and at days 60 and 180. In T-NION, further measurements were achieved at days 240 and 360.

Results: At baseline, NT-NION and T-NION patients showed abnormal PERGs and VEPs, and reduced VA, compared to controls. At the end of treatment (days 60 and 240), T-NION patients showed improvement (P < 0.01) of PERGs, VEPs parameters and VA, compared to pre-treatment values. After wash out, functional improvements persisted compared to baseline. No changes in NT-NION patients were observed.

Conclusions: Our results suggest a beneficial effect of oral Citicoline in NION.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline / therapeutic use*
  • Electroretinography / methods
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nootropic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Optic Neuropathy, Ischemic / drug therapy*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Pilot Projects
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects
  • Visual Acuity / physiology


  • Nootropic Agents
  • Cytidine Diphosphate Choline