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Antihypertensive drug could be useful for eye disorder

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.319.7215.942e (Published 09 October 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:942
  1. Deborah Josefson
  1. San Francisco

    A commonly used antihypertensive drug, the calcium blocker diltiazem, may some day be prescribed to stave off the effects of retinitis pigmentosa, a leading cause of hereditary blindness (Nature Medicine 1999; 5:1183-7).

    Retinitis pigmentosa is due to the death of retinal photoreceptors, and its onset is gradual, with night blindness and loss of peripheral vision dominating early in its course. Typically, the effects are first noted in young adulthood.

    The disorder is genetically heterogeneous and defects in over 100 genes have been implicated in causing the disease.

    Using a mouse model, researchers at the Université Louis Pasteur, in Strasbourg, France, demonstrated that diltiazem is capable of rescuing photoreceptors from an untimely death. Drs Maria Frasson and Serge …

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