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Intratympanic gentamicin in bilateral Menière's disease.

Treatment of bilateral Menière's disease is a delicate task. Streptomycin has demonstrated its ability to successfully control the vertigo attacks, but in some cases it results in oscillopsia and transforms the periodic attacks to permanent instability. If the site of the active labyrinth can be determined, a more specific treatment can be tried. We have treated 14 patients with intractable bilateral Menière's disease with intratympanic gentamicin (Garamycin, 40 mg/ml) administered initially in either 1, 2, 3, or 4 injections. The patients were tested at frequent intervals and followed up for 2 years. The work capacity, severity of vertigo, and gait difficulties were scored before treatment and during each test occasion. The postural stability was evaluated on a force platform and sway velocity was analyzed. Before treatment, moderate or severe reduction of work capacity was experienced by all of the subjects, which correlated to severity of vertigo and gait problems. Two years after treatment, the vertigo attacks were eliminated in 11 subjects and controlled in three subjects. The work capacity of three subjects was still moderately or severely reduced. This reduction depended on gait disturbance and Tumarkin attacks. The average postural stability returned to pretreatment level 2 years after the treatment was begun. The outcome of the caloric responses did not correlate with the outcome of the treatment. Hearing was not significantly affected by the treatment. Intratympanic gentamicin treatment is a relatively safe and effective way to treat bilateral Meniere's disease when the symptoms can be localized to one ear.

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