[Intratympanic gentamicin treatment for intractable Menière's disease]

D Gilony, M Wolf, J Kronenberg
Harefuah 2004, 143 (1): 4-7, 88

BACKGROUND: Intratympanic gentamicin is an accepted mode of treatment for patients with Meniere's disease who suffer from recurrent vertigo attacks in spite of conservative medical treatment. Recently, it gained popularity as the primary treatment for intractable Meniere's disease, prior to surgical procedures. However, administration methods and treatment protocols still differ from one medical center to another.

OBJECTIVES: We aimed to present outcomes of gentamicin treatment for vertigo attacks and functional capacity, based on our experience with 23 patients over 3 years and review the literature on the subject.

METHODS: Three specially prepared gentamicin injections, were administered once a month, according to the state of vertigo attacks, functional capacity, and hearing status. Clinical observation, frequent hearing examinations and caloric tests were used for follow-up.

RESULTS: Following treatment, 20 (87%) patients no longer experienced vertigo attacks, while 16 of them (69.6%) reported full functional recovery. Two patients (8.7%) did not respond to treatment, and therefore, underwent surgical procedures. One patient (4.4%) did not complete therapy. Post treatment caloric tests showed significant deterioration (P < 0.02). Severe vestibular weakness (51-100%) was found in the treated ear in 11 of the 14 patients with unilateral disease (78.6%). The mean change in hearing examination was non-significant. However, two of the 21 patients suffered a change from moderate to severe hearing loss to complete deafness (9.5%). There was no case of post treatment infection or permanent tympanic perforation.

CONCLUSIONS: Intratympanic gentamicin injection is a simple and safe procedure for intractable Meniere's patients, with a high success rate and low risk for hearing deterioration. It is recommended for patients with continuous functional disability prior to surgical treatment.

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