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Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Oct 31, 2022.

IIH is a condition that causes the pressure inside your skull to be higher than normal for no known reason. IIH can seem like a brain tumor, but no tumor is found. IIH is most common in obese women who are of childbearing age.

DISCHARGE INSTRUCTIONS:

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US), or have someone call if:

  • You suddenly cannot see.
  • You have sudden neck pain or cannot move your arms or legs.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing.
  • You are confused or cannot think clearly.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have a severe headache.
  • You have a seizure.

Call your doctor if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your headache gets worse or does not go away with treatment.
  • Your vision loss does not improve with treatment.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Medicines:

You may need any of the following:

  • Migraine medicine may help decrease how much CSF you produce. This will help relieve pressure in your skull.
  • NSAIDs , such as ibuprofen, help decrease swelling, pain, and fever. This medicine is available with or without a doctor's order. NSAIDs can cause stomach bleeding or kidney problems in certain people. If you take blood thinner medicine, always ask if NSAIDs are safe for you. Always read the medicine label and follow directions. Do not give these medicines to children younger than 6 months without direction from a healthcare provider.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever. It is available without a doctor's order. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Read the labels of all other medicines you are using to see if they also contain acetaminophen, or ask your doctor or pharmacist. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage if not taken correctly.
  • Diuretics help decrease extra fluid that collects in your body. This will help lower the pressure in your skull. Diuretics are often called water pills. You may urinate more often when you take this medicine.
  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

Manage IIH:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider what a healthy weight is for you. Ask your provider to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. You may need to limit the amount of fats and salt you eat. You may also need to limit foods rich in vitamin A and tyramine. Foods rich in vitamin A include beef liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes, and leafy greens. Food and drinks that are high in tyramine include cheese, pepperoni, salami, beer, and wine. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
    Sources of Vitamin A
  • Drink liquids as directed. Ask your healthcare provider how much liquid to drink each day and which liquids are best for you.

Follow up with your doctor as directed:

You may need to return for eye exams every 10 to 14 days. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.