Idiopathic intracranial hypertension: expanding our understanding

Curr Opin Neurol. 2023 Dec 1;36(6):622-630. doi: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000001209. Epub 2023 Sep 28.


Purpose of review: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) affects predominantly overweight women of childbearing age, causing chronically-disabling headaches and visual loss. Weight loss remains the most effective management strategy, but innovative treatments and randomized control trials (RCTs) remain few. This paper will review recent IIH research.

Recent findings: Pregnancy-related complications, but not losses, are increased in IIH, while symptom severity is not affected. Weight loss of 24% results in normalization of intracranial pressure (ICP) and improvement in papilledema. Prolonged periods of papilledema result in delayed thinning of the ganglion cell layer. Less-invasive telemetry has improved understanding of the positional effects on ICP with rises seen in the supine and lateral positions. Exenatide, a GLP-1 agonist, may reduce ICP and improve symptoms. Venous sinus stenting is increasingly popular but its benefits over CSF diversion remain unclear.

Summary: Early involvement of obstetric care is recommended with pregnancy in IIH. Early intervention is required to avoid chronic papilledema that confers worse visual outcomes. Positional changes may affect ICP readings. The use of novel ICP telemetric devices has significant potential in future disease monitoring. The dual benefits of weight loss and ICP reduction with exenatide have significant potential in IIH management. Surgical RCTs are still required.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exenatide
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Papilledema* / diagnosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Pseudotumor Cerebri* / diagnosis
  • Weight Loss


  • Exenatide