Objective: Test of dose-response relationship for Ginkgo biloba extract EGb 761 (oral) in outpatients with acute idiopathic sudden sensorineural hearing loss (ISSHL) of at least 15 dB at one frequency within the speech range occurring less than 10 days before study inclusion.
Design: Multicentre, randomized, double-blind phase III study comparing dosages of 120 mg twice daily and 12 mg twice daily over 8 weeks. MAIN ENDPOINT: Recovery (in dB) of the auditory threshold from the initial measurement to the value on the last day of treatment, averaged over those frequencies from 0.25, 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 kHz for which the initial hearing loss amounted to 15 dB or more compared to the level on the opposite side.
Patients: 106 patients with an average age of 44+/-16 years and with hearing loss at affected frequencies 26 dB +/- 9 dB included between December 1995 and July 1997.
Results: Large majorities of both treatment groups recovered completely. In exploratory analyses of the 96 patients included according to the protocol, patients given the higher dose had less risk of not recovering well (< or =10 dB residual hearing loss) (one-sided Fisher test: P = 0.0061), especially if they had no tinnitus (n = 44, P = 0.00702).
Conclusion: A higher dosage of EGb 761 (oral) appears to speed up and secure the recovery of ISSHL patients, with a good chance that they will recover completely, even with little treatment. This was already observed after one week of treatment. We find it justified to treat patients who have unilateral ISSHL of less than 75 dB and neither tinnitus nor vertigo with 120 mg oral EGb 761 twice daily.