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Paresthesia and Numbness due to Drugs: The Special Case of the Blind

Samuel R. Pesin, MD; James D. Brandt, MD
JAMA. 1991;265(12):1527-1528. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460120041025.
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To the Editor.—  Carbonic anhydrase inhibitors such as acetazolamide and methazolamide are among the most effective suppressants of aqueous humor production known, and they are used frequently in the treatment of glaucoma. They are typically reserved for use after topical therapy has proven inadequate because their high frequency of adverse effects1,2 makes them unsuitable as a first-line medication in the treatment of a chronic disease. These adverse effects include blood dyscrasias, depression, anorexia, alopecia, and paresthesia of the distal extermities. We would like to report a case in which a usually tolerable side effect of carbonic anhydrase inhibitors (paresthesia and numbness of the distal extremities) became disabling.

Report of a Case.—  Our patient, an active 77-year-old woman, has been legally blind since childhood. She relied on braille to obtain a PhD in special education. As an author and a mathematics instructor in a school for visually impaired children, she


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