Effects of weight loss on the course of idiopathic intracranial hypertension in women

Neurology. 1998 Apr;50(4):1094-8. doi: 10.1212/wnl.50.4.1094.


Objective: To determine the role of weight loss in the treatment of idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) in obese women.

Methods: Chart review of 250 patients with suspected IIH revealed 58 women who met our criteria, did not undergo early surgical intervention, and had adequate documentation of visual status, papilledema, and weight at the baseline evaluation and at 6 months or longer. Patients were divided into two groups based on whether weight loss > or = 2.5 kg occurred during any 3-month interval. Papilledema grade, visual acuity, and visual field grade at 6 months or longer and the time to improve each were recorded.

Results: Mean time in months to improve one grade for papilledema and visual field in one eye was 4.0 versus 6.7 (p = 0.013) and 4.6 versus 12.2 (p = 0.032), respectively, for the 38 patients with weight loss compared with the 20 patients with no weight loss. Papilledema resolved in 28/38 with weight loss (mean, 7.6 months) and 8/20 without weight loss (mean, 10.2 months; p = 0.352). There were no differences in final visual acuity or visual field between the two groups, but the papilledema grade was slightly better in the worst eye in each patient at baseline in the weight loss group (p = 0.03).

Conclusions: Weight reduction is associated with more rapid recovery of both papilledema and visual field dysfunction in patients with IIH compared with those who do not lose weight.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Hypertension / complications
  • Intracranial Hypertension / diet therapy*
  • Intracranial Hypertension / surgery
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Papilledema
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vision, Low / diagnosis
  • Vision, Low / diet therapy
  • Vision, Low / etiology
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Fields
  • Weight Loss*