Objective: To provide family physicians with an updated approach to the diagnosis and management of Ménière disease (MD), detailing the natural course of MD and describing how to initiate medical therapy while awaiting consultation with otolaryngology-head and neck surgery.
Sources of information: The approach is based on the authors' clinical practices and review articles from 1989 to 2018. Most of the cited studies provided level II or III evidence.
Main message: Ménière disease is an uncommon disorder of the inner ear causing vertigo attacks with associated unilateral hearing loss, tinnitus, and aural fullness. It has a degenerative course that often results in permanent sensorineural hearing loss. On average, MD stabilizes with no further vestibular attacks by about 8 years after the onset of symptoms; however, this is highly variable. Vertigo symptoms can be controlled through a combination of dietary salt restriction, stress reduction, and medical therapy (betahistine, diuretics, or both). These can be initiated by family physicians before consultation with otolaryngology-head and neck surgery. Symptoms refractory to such strategies can be treated using nonablative, and occasionally ablative, therapies.
Conclusion: A thorough history is key to the approach to and management of MD and permits differentiating MD from other vestibular and nonvestibular conditions.
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