Pharmacological treatment for acute peripheral vertigo

Fumiyuki Goto, Haruna Yabe, Kaoru Ogawa

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Introduction: Treatments for acute peripheral vertigo have not been well investigated. The most suitable drug for controlling acute vertigo should suppress both vertigo and accompanying nausea. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of four different drugs on acute peripheral vertigo: (A) hydroxyzine hydrochloride (25 mg, i.v.); (B) 0. 5% metoclopramide (2 ml, i.v.); (C) sodium bicarbonate (40 ml, i.v.); and (D) a cocktail of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (30 mg) and dyprophylline (26 mg) (both i.m.). Methods: Forty-two patients with acute peripheral vertigo (average age: 59. 5 ±18.1 years) with spontaneous nystagmus were assigned to four treatment groups (A-D, above). Patients with central vertigo and vestibular neuritis were excluded. The number of patients in each group was as follows: A, n= 11; B, n=ll; C, n=ll; and D, n=9. Patients were instructed to evaluate their subjective symptoms of nausea and vertigo before and 30 minutes after drug treatment. They rated the severity of their symptoms on a 0-to-10 scale, with 10 representing the most severe symptoms and 0 a lack of symptoms. Results: Group A patients (hydroxyzine hydrochloride; 25 mg, i.v.) reported the highest level of relief from vertigo and nausea after drug treatment, whereas group C (sodium bicarbonate; 40 ml, i.v.) and D (diphenhydramine hydrochloride (30 mg)-dyprophylline (26 mg) cocktail; i.m.) patients reported only the slight relief of these symptoms. Group B patients (0. 5% metoclopramide; 2 ml, i.v.) experienced partial symptom relief; their vertigo remained unchanged. Thus, hydroxyzine hydrochloride (A) was the most effective in controlling both nausea and vertigo, whereas sodium bicarbonate (C) and diphenhydramine hydrochloride and dyprophylline (D) only slightly suppressed vertigo and nausea. Metoclopramide (B) only suppressed nausea. Conclusions: Hydroxyzine hydrochloride (A) was the most suitable for treating acute peripheral vertigo. Doctors should be familiar with the contraindications of these drugs. Some of these drugs may potentially be used in combination to control the symptoms of acute vertigo more effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)315-320
Number of pages6
JournalPractica Oto-Rhino-Laryngologica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1


  • Acute peripheral vertigo
  • Hydroxyzine hydrochloride
  • Metoclopramide
  • Pharmacological treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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