Background: Tinnitus remains a phenomenon with an unknown pathophysiology and for which few therapeutic measures are available. To date there has been insufficient evidence to support the use of alprazolam in the treatment of tinnitus. We sought to evaluate the efficacy of alprazolam for relief of tinnitus.
Material/methods: Thirty-six tinnitus sufferers participated in this cross-over, randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Inclusion criteria included patients between ages 21 and 65, with a complaint of non-pulsatile tinnitus of more than 1 year duration. Patients with depressive or anxiety disorders were excluded, as were those using hearing aids. Participants received alprazolam 1.5 mg daily versus placebo in each period. Primary outcome variables included the Tinnitus Handicap Inventory (THI), a Visual Analog Scale (VAS), and tinnitus loudness.
Results: Thirty patients completed the study. The average age of patients was 47.58+/-7.65 years. Alprazolam in comparison with placebo did not result in statistically significantly greater relief in THI score and tinnitus loudness. There was a significant improvement in VAS score in the alprazolam group compared with the placebo group (p<0.001).
Conclusions: These results suggest that although alprazolam did not improve the THI score or sensation level of loudness significantly, it has a desirable effect on VAS. Further work is needed to determine the beneficial effects of alprazolam in distressed or depressed patients.