Case report| Volume 2, ISSUE 3, P256-258, July 2013

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Severe early bilateral macular edema following fingolimod therapy

Published:January 18, 2013DOI:


      We report a case of bilateral macular edema (ME) within 10 days of starting fingolimod 0.5 mg therapy in a patient with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). The complication resolved without treatment as demonstrated by sequential Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). Fingolimod is a sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor modulator that reduces lymphocyte presence in the CNS. In pivotal trials, ME, a known complication of fingolimod, typically occurred unilaterally with onset at approximately 3 months. A 60 y/o AA female, diagnosed with MS in 1977, started oral fingolimod treatment on 05/31/2011. Baseline screening with OCT and ophthalmology evaluation showed no ME. On 06/10, she developed bilateral blurry vision and discontinued fingolimod. On 06/27, OCT revealed severe bilateral ME. Later OCT exams showed a progressive decrease in Central Foveal Thickness (CFT) and Macular Volume (MV), without specific treatment other than discontinuation of fingolimod. On 7/27, CFT, MV, and Visual Acuity (VA) were similar to baseline. This is the first reported case of bilateral, early onset ME following fingolimod treatment at the current FDA-approved dose of 0.5 mg. Diabetes, a known risk factor for ME, may have contributed to her early, bilateral involvement. Our case provides further support for earlier OCT, in conjunction with ophthalmic examinations, for at-risk patients on fingolimod, and suggests that cessation of fingolimod may be associated with resolution of ME.


      OCT (optical coherence tomography), ME (macular edema), CFT (central foveal thickness), MV (macular volume), VA (visual acuity), S1PR (sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor)


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