Drug therapy for acquired pendular nystagmus in multiple sclerosis

J Neurol. 1997 Jan;244(1):9-16. doi: 10.1007/pl00007728.


Acquired pendular nystagmus (APN) is regularly accompanied by oscillopsia and impairment of static visual acuity. Therapeutic approaches to APN remain controversial, and there is no generally accepted therapeutic approach. We tested 14 patients who had suffered from APN caused by multiple sclerosis for several years; 12 patients presented with fixational pendular nystagmus (increasing during fixation) and 2 with spontaneous pendular nystagmus. All 11 patients with fixational pendular nystagmus who were given memantine, a glutamate antagonist, experienced complete cessation of the nystagmus. In contrast, scopolamine caused no (6 of 8) or only a minor (10-50%) reduction of the nystagmus (2 of 8). It was concluded that memantine is a safe treatment option for APN.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electrooculography
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memantine / adverse effects
  • Memantine / therapeutic use*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / diagnosis
  • Nystagmus, Pathologic / drug therapy*
  • Scopolamine / adverse effects
  • Scopolamine / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Visual Acuity / drug effects


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Scopolamine
  • Memantine