Pharmacological treatment of vertigo

Acta Otolaryngol Suppl. 1988;455:77-81. doi: 10.3109/00016488809125063.


A review of the treatment of vestibular disorders with drugs is presented. In animal experiments, administration of certain drugs, e.g. alcohol, barbiturates and chlorpromazine, retards the vestibular compensation, while others, e.g. caffeine, amphetamine and ACTH, accelerate the compensation. In compensated animals, some drugs produce overcompensation and some decompensation. A double-blind, randomized trial of the effect of scopolamine and dimenhydrinate in patients with vertigo of varying origin showed, as compared with placebo, that these drugs did not significantly alleviate the vestibular imbalance. The reason for the poor efficacy of the treatment may have been overcompensation of vestibular function loss and adverse effects caused by the drugs. Care should be taken that the drugs used do not retard the vestibular compensation caused by the central nervous system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dimenhydrinate / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Meniere Disease / drug therapy*
  • Motion Sickness / drug therapy
  • Scopolamine / therapeutic use
  • Vertigo / drug therapy
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / drug effects*


  • Scopolamine
  • Dimenhydrinate