Rare disease: Scientists use eye drops to treat nosebleeds
Many causes of nosebleeds are harmless. But sometimes it can also indicate a dangerous illness if you bleed frequently and massively from your nose, for example the rare disease Osler's disease. Researchers now want to find out whether a certain medication for an eye disease can reduce this symptom.
Nosebleeds can indicate a serious illness
If you bleed from your nose, you don't usually have to worry much. However, violent and frequent nosebleeds can indicate a serious illness. For example, the rare disease Osler's disease leads to massive nosebleeds. Scientists now want to investigate whether a drug against glaucoma can reduce this symptom.
Rare Disease Day
The day of rare diseases on the last day of February always focuses on diseases that affect no more than five out of 10,000 people.
For example, the rare disease Osler's disease leads to massive nosebleeds, which can sometimes be difficult to stop.
"There are a variety of medical measures described for the treatment of bleeding," says the website of the non-profit association Morbus Osler Selbsthilfe e.V ..
"The reason for this multitude is the fact that, to this day, there is unfortunately no optimal procedure that can cure nosebleeds. However, a significant relief is almost always possible, ”it continues.
Possibly also with a nasal spray, because at the University Clinic Regensburg (UKR) research is now being carried out to determine whether a medication for glaucoma can reduce this symptom.
Scary long-lasting nosebleeds
Rare Disease Day is rare. It can only be committed every four years on its actual date, February 29th. Diseases such as Osler's disease are even rarer.
This congenital, pathological dilation of blood vessels manifests itself in 90 percent of cases through heavy nosebleeds. It occurs for no apparent reason, often at night, and can last for a frighteningly long time.
The consequences of the so-called epistaxis range from a reduced quality of life to incapacity to work or anemia.
But Osler's disease and many other rare diseases affect so few people that one often knows little about causes, symptoms or treatment options.
“So far, Osler patients have only limited resources available for nosebleeds. They range from extensive care of the nasal mucosa and nasal tamponades, through surgical interventions for the obliteration of vessels in the nose, to permanent occlusion of the nose, ”explains Dr. Kornelia Wirsching, senior physician in the clinic and polyclinic for ear, nose and throat medicine at the UKR in a message.
She is now researching a new drug therapy for Osler patients. Smaller case studies have already shown a positive influence of eye drops with the active ingredient timolol on the frequency and intensity of nosebleeds in those affected.
A lot of relief with a comparatively simple method
As part of a new research project, Dr. Wirsching is clinically testing this effect and scientifically substantiating the use of the drug. So far, the beta blocker Timolol has not been approved for use in Osler's disease patients.
In Germany, the active ingredient is currently used for glaucoma and causes a reduction in intraocular pressure by inhibiting special receptors in the eye and reducing the production of aqueous humor.
For some years now, local beta blockers such as timolol have also been used successfully for blood sponges (hemangiomas).
As part of her research project, Dr. Wirsching Timolol after transferring to a nasal spray bottle to patients with Osler's disease at the clinic for ear, nose and throat medicine.
"There are only a few treatment options for many rare diseases," says Professor Dr. Mark Berneburg, Chairman of the ZSER e.V. (Center for Rare Diseases), which supports the research project financially.
"In the study of the influence of timolol nasal spray on nosebleeds in Osler patients, we see a lot of potential in that a relatively simple method can provide much relief for the patients," said the expert. (ad)