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Meniere's Disease - Symptoms and Treatment

Meniere's Disease is a disorder of the inner ear which causes episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), a feeling of fullness or pressure in the ear, and fluctuating hearing loss. Meniere's Disease is a problem with the fluid balance regulating system in the inner ear. Meniere's disease is a condition characterized by sudden, sometimes severe attacks of vertigo, which is the sudden and unsteady sensation that you or your surroundings are moving or spinning. It is named after 19th-century French physician Prosper Meniere's Disease, although the attacks associated with Meniere's disease can be disturbing and sometimes disabling, Meniere's disease itself isn't life-threatening.

Causes of Meniere's Disease

There is no particaular cause known for menieres. A rupture in the membranes of the labyrinth may cause endolymph to mix with perilymph, another inner ear fluid. This mixing of fluids may cause the signs and symptoms characteristic of Meniere's disease. An increase in the(endolymph) fluid can produce abnormal signals that tell your brain you're in motion even though you're actually stationary. Excess endolymph can also cause the membranes of the vestibular labyrinth to rupture.

Symptoms of Meniere's Disease

1)Sudden, severe episodes of vertigo, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting
2)Hearing loss in the affected ear
3)Buzzing, ringing or roaring sound in the affected ear (tinnitus)
4)Feeling of fullness, pressure or pain in the affected ear

Treatment of Meniere's Disease

1) Medications: Vertigo. Anti-vertigo medications such as meclizine (Antivert),Anxiety. Anti-anxiety medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax),ausea and vomiting. Drugs such as prochlorperazine (Compazine)

2) Surgery: If the vertigo attacks associated with Meniere's disease are severe and debilitating and medical treatments don't help, surgery may be an option

3) Injections with a steroid called dexamethasone also may help control vertigo attacks

Medication during attack:

  • Meclizine (Antivert), chewable (Bonine). Dose ranges from 12.5 twice/day to 50 mg three times/day.
  • Lorazepam (Ativan) 0.5 mg. Usual dose is twice/day.This medication can be taken under the tongue
  • Phenergan (orally or suppository). Usual dose is 12.5 mg every 12 hours as needed for vomiting.
  • Compazine (orally or suppository). Usual dose is 5 mg every 12 hours as needed for vomiting.
  • Zofran (orally or sublingual). Usual dose is 8mg q 12 hrs for vomiting. (this medication is very expensive)
  • Decadron (dexamethasone) 4 mg orally for 4-7 days.


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