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    Pseudotumor Cerebri (Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension)

    What is pseudotumor cerebri?

    Pseudotumor cerebri literally means "false brain tumor." It is likely due to high pressure within the skull caused by the buildup or poor absorption of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The disorder is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 50.

    What are the symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri?

    Symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri include symptoms that closely mimic large brain tumors:

    How is pseudotumor cerebri treated?

    • Obesity, other treatable diseases, and some medications can cause raised intracranial pressure and symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri.
    • A thorough medical history and physical examination is needed to evaluate these factors.
    • If a diagnosis of pseudotumor cerebri is confirmed, close, repeated ophthalmologic exams are required to monitor any changes in vision.
    • Drugs may be used to reduce fluid buildup and to relieve pressure.
    • Weight loss and cessation of certain drugs (including oral contraceptives, tetracycline, and a variety of steroids) may lead to improvement.
    • Surgery may be needed to remove pressure on the optic nerve. Therapeutic shunting, which involves surgically inserting a tube to drain CSF from the lower spine into the abdominal cavity, may be needed to remove excess CSF and relieve CSF pressure.

    What is the prognosis for patient's with pseudotumor cerebri?

    The disorder may cause progressive, permanent visual loss in some patients. In some cases, pseudotumor cerebri recurs.

    For more information about pseudotumor cerebri

    Intracranial Hypertension Research Foundation
    6517 Buena Vista Drive
    Vancouver, WA 98661
    Tel: 360-693-4473
    Fax: 360-694-7062

    National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
    P.O. Box 1968
    (55 Kenosia Avenue)
    Danbury, CT 06813-1968
    Tel: 203-744-0100 Voice Mail 800-999-NORD (6673)
    Fax: 203-798-2291

    Pseudotumor Cerebri Support Network
    8247 Riverside Drive
    Powell, OH 43065

    Medically reviewed by Jon Glass, MD; American board of Psychiatry and Neurology

    Last update: 9/30/2008

    SOURCE: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

    Last Editorial Review: 4/2/2014


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