Uses and Implications of Vertigo Medicines
Vertigo is referred as dizziness in everyday language by patients is a symptom that points to one or more medical conditions. The vertigo episodes may last as short as a minute to as long as few hours or days. Some vertigo patients experience slight to extreme loss of balance during vertigo bouts and may need someone to be with them for support.
The cause and treatment of vertigo are still a hugely researched topic in the medical field. Although no medical study has proved that dizziness is completely curable, it is entirely treatable, and the vertigo episodes can be reduced drastically in most of the cases with timely diagnose, patient specific exercises and vertigo suppressant medications.
The causes of vertigo are widely classified into two categories: Peripheral and Central.
Issues that cause peripheral vertigo are in the inner ear. There can be an infection, loose calcium particles deposited in the ear canals, rigid small bones that are unable transmit proper signal to the brain or fluctuating pressure in the ear due to building up of excessive fluids obstructing blood circulation are some of the reasons that are cited by doctors as causes of peripheral vertigo.
A central vertigo is caused by issues with the nerve pathways that carry sensory signals to the brain. A migraine, stroke, certain brain tumor are some of the reasons that cause distress in the brain leading to central vertigo.
Sometimes the brain adapts to the signals it receives by the inner ear, and vertigo issues are resolved automatically without any medical intervention. But many times vertigo and the underlying medical conditions that are causing vertigo need immediate care and treatment.
The general prescription forms of vertigo medicines are orally administered medications (in the form of tablets or syrups), suppositories, patch medicine (placed over the skin) and drugs given through intravenous as drips.
Some of the widely prescribed medications to treat vertigo are:
- Reglan (content: metoclopramide)
- Valium (content: diazepam)
- Antivertigo tablet with content: meclizine hydrochloride
- Medicine with content prednisone
- Transderm-Scop (content: scopolamine transdermal)
- Phenergan (content: promethazine hydrochloride)
- Zofran (content: odansetron)
- Ativan (content: lorazepan)
- Klonopin (content: clonazepam)
- Benadryl (content: diphenhydramine)
- Dramamine (content: dimenhydrinate)
The patients must take the vertigo medicines as per the prescription by the doctors. The medications are given for a short duration of about three days to two weeks to suppress the vertigo symptoms. After which they may be recommended to be taken as and when you experience a dizziness bout. Since these medicines cause drowsiness, take precaution not to drive, exercise, be on an elevated platform or work on machinery after taking medicine.
Some of the side-effects of vertigo medications are dry mouth, headache, fatigue, muscle twitching, stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting. Call your doctor immediately if you experience any of these side-effects or even if you think you are feeling just uneasy. Vertigo medications are also known to aggravate the current medical conditions such as stomach ulcers, and respiratory issues. Discuss your health status and current medications with your doctor before taking medicines for vertigo.
Apart from the above medicines, some additional drugs are prescribed by the doctors depending on the medical condition of the patient. For instance, if Meniere’s disease is the reason behind vertigo, the patient may be put on the diuretics medication course to increase the urine output thereby decreasing the fluid build up causing pressure on the organs. If the patient is experiencing vertigo as a result of a bacterial infection in the middle ear, he can be prescribed antibiotics along with the vertigo medicines.
How Do Vertigo Medicines Work?
That is an obvious question any vertigo sufferer should know. As mentioned in the above list of medicines, the vertigo medications contain either steroids, antihistamines, anti anxiety, antiallergic or prochlorperazine to reduce dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness.
Steroids reduce the inflammation of the organ causing vertigo and subside the spinning sensation.
Antihistamines block histamine production in the body that trigger symptoms of sickness, nausea, and vertigo. An antihistamine called betahistine is proven to have vasodilation effect in the inner ear. This medicine is prescribed to vertigo patients with Meniere’s disease as it subsides spinning sensation and also relieves the pressure build up in the inner ear due to excess fluid.
Prochlorperazine blocks dopamine production in the body that causes feelings of sickness and dizziness. This drug is prescribed to the vertigo patients if they are experiencing severe sickness and vomiting. Prochlorperazine has side-effects; such as causing tremors or abnormal muscle twitching.
Antivertigo drugs containing meclizine reduce disturbance in the inner ear blocks the transmission of signals in the nerve pathways and calms down the vertigo symptoms.
Dimenhydrinate reduces the capacity of the sensory nerve cells in the labyrinth of the ear to transmit signals through the vestibular region. Stugeron has dimenhydrinate along with cinnarizine.
The antianxiety drug containing diazepam is used in cases of severe vertigo episodes. It lowers the efficiency of the central nervous system, on the whole, hence relieving vertigo symptoms.
Compared to other drugs promethazine has minor side-effects and quite safe for the aged patients. It arrests dopamine release in the body and reduces nausea and vomiting in vertigo patients.
Ephedrine activates allergic receptors in the body to block external stimulus that might further affect the vertigo patients.
Glycopyrrolate in a vertigo medicine controls the activation of neurotransmission signals in the parasympathetic region in the body. It is proven to be a safe drug to administer to the aged people.
Scopolamine is prescribed for use on the skin that has similar effects to the glycopyrrolate drug. This medication is most effective in treating motion sickness. However, it has limited effectiveness in vestibular related issues because of its slow action.
Vertigo medicines are not combined with antidepressant drugs as they cause severe drowsiness. Although taking with over-the-counter painkiller drugs or antipyretic drugs is not seen to cause any adverse effects, but it is better to seek medical advice before taking any other medication along with vertigo medicines.
Who should not take vertigo medicines?
Vertigo medicines are not prescribed to pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under the age of 12 and aged people.
The doctors may prescribe vertigo medicines to pregnant women and aged people only after thoroughly weighing the options and side-effects.
You can check with our vertigo specialist doctors at NeuroEquilibrium’s advanced vertigo and balance clinics about Vertigo medicines that suit you and get holistic treatment for vertigo and other balance issues.