Intratympanic gentamicin for intractable Meniere's disease

Nicolas Perez, Eduardo Martín, Rafael García-Tapia
Laryngoscope 2003, 113 (3): 456-64

OBJECTIVE: The study aimed to analyze the results of the intratympanic injection of gentamicin as a treatment option for patients with unilateral Meniere's disease who were refractory to medical treatment.

STUDY DESIGN: Prospective study in the setting of a tertiary care medical center.

METHODS: Seventy-one patients with unilateral Meniere's disease according to 1995 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 1995 guidelines who had been unresponsive to medical therapy for at least 1 year were studied. Intratympanic injections of a prepared concentration of 27 mg/mL gentamicin were performed at weekly intervals until the development of symptoms and signs indicative of vestibular hypofunction in the treated ear. As the main outcome measure, the 1995 American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery criteria for reporting treatment outcome in Meniere's disease were used. The results of treatment were expressed in terms of control of vertigo, disability status (functional level and degree of overall impairment evaluated by the Dizziness Handicap Inventory and the University of California Los Angeles Dizziness Questionnaire), hearing level, and quantitative measurement of vestibular function.

RESULTS: Vertigo was controlled in 83.1% of the 71 patients. Recurrence of vertigo spells after initially complete control was noted in 17 patients. In 13 of these patients, this was cured by another course of intratympanic injections of gentamicin. Functional level and measures of self-reported handicap were significantly and promptly lowered after treatment in the patients who attained control of vertigo. Hearing level as pure-tone average was unchanged 2 years after treatment, but hearing loss as a result of gentamicin injections occurred in 23 patients at the end of treatment and in 9 and 11 patients at 3 months and 2 years after the treatment, respectively. Vestibular function was kept normal or reduced in 49.3% of the patients, whereas in the rest of the patients vestibular areflexia was observed. Control of vertigo did not depend on the amount of vestibular damage.

CONCLUSIONS: Ending weekly intratympanic injections when clinical signs of vestibular deafferentation appear can control vertigo in the majority of patients, and it is a useful alternative, together with other surgical options, for the treatment of patients with Meniere's disease who do not respond to medical treatment.

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