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Treatment of vertigo

Randy Swartz, Paxton Longwell
American Family Physician 2005 March 15, 71 (6): 1115-22
15791890
Vertigo is the illusion of motion, usually rotational motion. As patients age, vertigo becomes an increasingly common presenting complaint. The most common causes of this condition are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, Ménière's disease, migraine, and anxiety disorders. Less common causes include vertebrobasilar ischemia and retrocochlear tumors. The distinction between peripheral and central vertigo usually can be made clinically and guides management decisions. Most patients with vertigo do not require extensive diagnostic testing and can be treated in the primary care setting. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo usually improves with a canalith repositioning procedure. Acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis improves with initial stabilizing measures and a vestibular suppressant medication, followed by vestibular rehabilitation exercises. Meniere's disease often responds to the combination of a low-salt diet and diuretics. Vertiginous migraine headaches generally improve with dietary changes, a tricyclic antidepressant, and a beta blocker or calcium channel blocker. Vertigo associated with anxiety usually responds to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor.

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