Medical management of migraine-related dizziness and vertigo

G D Johnson
Laryngoscope 1998, 108 (1 Pt 2): 1-28
Historically, review of migraine-related vestibular symptoms has focused on the various clinical presentations that occur and the results of diagnostic studies of vestibular function. Treatment of vestibular symptoms related to migraine has been proposed similar to that used for headache control, but few examples of the effectiveness of this therapy have been published. The purpose of this study is to present the various approaches that can be used to manage vestibular symptoms related to migraine, and to evaluate the overall effectiveness of these treatment approaches. This was a retrospective review of 89 patients diagnosed with migraine-related dizziness and vertigo. The character of vestibular symptoms, pattern of cochlear symptoms, results of auditory and vestibular tests, and comorbidity factors are presented. Treatment was individualized according to symptoms and comorbidity factors, and analyzed regarding effectiveness in control of the major vestibular symptoms of episodic vertigo, positional vertigo, and nonvertiginous dizziness. Medical management included dietary changes, medication, physical therapy, lifestyle adaptations, and acupuncture. Complete or substantial control of vestibular symptoms was achieved in 68 (92%) of 74 patients complaining of episodic vertigo; in 56 (89%) of 63 patients with positional vertigo; and 56 (86%) of 65 patients with non-vertiginous dizziness. Similarly, aural fullness was completely resolved or substantially improved in 34 (85%) of 40 patients; ear pain in 10 (63%) of 16 patients; and phonophobia in 17 (89%) of 19 patients. No patient reported worsened symptoms following medical management. The conflicting concept of a central disorder (migraine) as the cause of cochlear and vestibular dysfunction that often has peripheral features is discussed.

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