Introduction: During the last decade, a number of candidate drugs for the treatment of tinnitus have emerged with the hope of alleviating the burden of millions of sufferers with a persisting ringing in their ears. Knowledge of the pathophysiologic mechanisms has progressed remarkably in the recent years, which has led to the identification of potential new drug targets for the treatment of tinnitus. However, pharmacologic interventions are still limited. Areas covered: In this editorial results from recent Phase 3 and Phase 2a trials investigating the NMDA receptor antagonist AM-101 from Auris Medical, the AMPA receptor antagonist BGG492 from Novartis and the Kv3 modulator AUT00063 from Autifony Therapeutics will be discussed. In this context, we will reevaluate the translational development approach from animal models to clinical trials and seize this opportunity to debate and improve future R&D in tinnitus pipeline. Expert opinion: In spite of huge advances in pathophysiologic knowledge and research methodology in the last decades, pharmaceutical research in tinnitus still represents a high-risk field. Important research directions include the identification of potential therapeutic targets and the development of objective outcome measurements to facilitate translational research.
Keywords: Tinnitus; auditory system; hearing; hidden hearing loss; meta-analysis; pharmacotherapy; systematic review; treatment.