Meniere’s disease is a problem with the inner ear. Certain medicines can help manage the symptoms of this disease. Some help reduce fluid pressure in the inner ear. Others help ease symptoms themselves. But no medicine will cure Meniere’s disease. And no one medicine is right for everyone. Discuss your options with your healthcare provider.
Reducing the fluid
Fluid buildup in your inner ear often causes the symptoms of Meniere’s disease. Drugs called diuretics rid the body of excess fluid. By doing so, they may help reduce fluid buildup in the ear. Diuretics may make your body lose a mineral called potassium. Because of this, you may also be given supplements to take.
Treating Meniere’s symptoms
Certain drugs can help control symptoms. They include:
Anti-dizziness medicines. These help relieve vertigo.
Antinausea (also called antiemetic) medicines. These help relieve nausea and vomiting.
Sedatives. These help you relax and sleep during a vertigo attack.
Note: Attacks often cause nausea and vomiting. So these drugs may be given in the form of a rectal suppository. This helps ensure it stays in your system even if you throw up.
Other drugs help reduce inner ear swelling. Some improve hearing and others add to symptom relief. If one might be right for you, your healthcare provider can tell you more about it and how it is used.
Your healthcare provider may recommend a steroid injection in your middle ear. This can decrease or eliminate the vertigo episodes. This treatment has a small risk of leaving a permanent hole in the eardrum.
Certain antibiotics shut down the balance portion of the inner ear. This can relieve symptoms of vertigo. The treatment is most often given in the healthcare provider’s office. It is done over a period of several weeks. Liquid antibiotic is injected directly into the middle ear. The effect of this treatment is permanent. Talk with your healthcare provider about its benefits and risks and whether it is right for you.
The following are procedures that might be done. Your doctor can discuss these and other options with you.
Endolymphatic sac decompression or shunt. Pressure on a structure in the inner ear called the endolymphatic sac is thought to play a role in Meniere’s disease. During surgery, a small amount of bone is removed from around the sac. Tubing may be placed in the sac. This may help relieve pressure and reduce symptoms.
Vestibular neurectomy. The nerve from the balance portion of the ear is cut. This prevents the brain from receiving signals that trigger a vertigo attack. This affects the ability of that ear to regulate balance. In a short time, though, the brain adjusts to using just one ear for balance.
- Labyrinthectomy. The entire balance canal is removed from the affected ear. The ear can no longer regulate balance. The brain can usually adjust to one ear regulating balance. So balance can return to normal. But all hearing in that ear will be lost. So this procedure is most often done only in people with little or no hearing in the affected ear.