Vertigo is an illusion of rotational motion. Problems in the inner ear or the brain are primarily associated with this disorder. It is more common in aged people. Often, especially in elderly patients, multiple causes may be associated with vertigo. The episodes of vertigo last for a few seconds to several days.
Vestibular suppressants are used for treating vertigo. These drugs include antihistamines, anticholingerics and benzodiazepines. Acute vertigo that lasts for more than a minute easily responds to medications. Vertigo occurring due to a permanent vestibular injury such as stroke heals naturally without medication as the brain becomes accustomed to the new vestibular input.
Medications used for treating acute vertigo also helps to treat nausea and vomiting associated with it. Long-term use of vestibular suppressants increases the risk of sedation, falls and urinary retention in elderly people.
Best Medications To Treat Vertigo
Meclizine, also known as meclozine, is available over-the-counter for treating vertigo. Depending upon the severity of the symptoms of vertigo, 12.5 to 50 mg of meclizine tablet can be taken three to six times a day. It is most effective for treating vertigo caused by inner ear problems.
Meclizine is a H1 receptor antagonist with anticholinergic property. It also works as an antiemetic and helps to reduce nausea triggered by vertigo. Drowsiness, tiredness and dry mouth are possible side effects of the vertigo drug. People with glaucoma and enlarged prostate should take precautions while using meclizine.
Antihistamines with anticholinergic property are usually used for treating the symptoms of vertigo. While the antihistamine effect of the vertigo medications provides relief from nausea, the anticholinergic effect of the drugs improves motion tolerance. Antihistamine-anticholinergic drugs commonly used for treating vertigo include cinnarizine, cyclizine, promethazine, meclizine and dimenhydrinate.
Dimenhydrinate is an over-the-counter vertigo drug.
Depending upon the severity of the symptoms of vertigo, 25 to 100 mg of dimenhydrinate can be taken orally three to six times a day. Drowsiness, dry mouth and blurred vision are possible side effects of the drug.
Promethazine is an antihistamine drug with anticholinergic and antiemetic properties. In several countries it is available over-the-counter for treating vertigo. However, in UK and US it is available by prescription. 12.5 to 25 mg of the drug is taken orally two to six times a day. Drowsiness and dry mouth are common side effects of promethazine.
Cinnarizine is an antihistamine used for treating vertigo. It works by suppressing transmission of signals between the inner ear and the vomiting center in the brain.
For treating balance problems, cinnarizine is usually taken orally thrice a day. Drowsiness and blurred vision are possible side effects of the drug.
Cyclizine is an antihistamine with anticholinergic property. It is usually taken thrice a day with or without food to treat vertigo. Just as the other antihistamines used for treating vertigo, drowsiness and dry mouth are common side effects of the drug.
Betahistine is a new antihistamine drug used for treating vertigo. Unlike the traditional antihistamine vertigo drugs that work as H1 receptor antagonists, betahistine is primarily a H2 agonist and H2 antagonist.
It is considered more effective than the conventional H1 receptor antagonists. 8 to 32 mg of a betahistine tablet can be taken thrice a day to treat vertigo.
By stimulating the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the central nervous system, benzodiazepines inhibit vestibular responses that induce balance problems. To minimize the adverse reactions of these drugs, only small doses are used for treating vertigo. Benzodiazepines commonly used for treating balance problems include lorazepam and diazepam.
Lorazepam is the most popular benzodiazepine prescribed for treating vertigo. To avoid addiction, in most cases 0.5 mg lorazepam tablet is taken every four to eight hours for reducing balance problems. Lorazepam may cause drowsiness.
Usually 2 mg of diazepam is taken orally three to six times a day to provide relief from vertigo. Drowsiness, dry mouth and tiredness are possible side effects of the drug.
Prochlorperazine obstructs activities of the brain chemical dopamine. Depending upon the severity of the vertigo symptoms, 5 to 10 mg of prochlorperazine can be taken three to four times a day.
Drowsiness, dry mouth, sleeping difficulty and low blood pressure are possible side effects of the drug. To prevent dystonia, a serious side effect of the drug, prochlorperazine is used as a second line drug for treating vertigo.
Metoclopramide is a dopamine antagonist used for treating vertigo. It even exhibits antiemetic property that helps to reduce nausea associated with vertigo. 5 to 10 mg of metoclopramide can be taken orally four times a day. Drowsiness and restlessness are possible side effects of the drug.