Background: Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common cause of acute dizziness. Medication use for its treatment remains common despite guideline recommendations against their use.
Objectives: The objective was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of vestibular suppressants in patients with BPPV compared to placebo, no treatment, or canalith repositioning maneuvers (CRMs).
Methods: We searched MEDLINE, Cochrane, EMBASE, and ClinicalTrials.gov from inception until March 25, 2022. for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing antihistamines, phenothiazines, anticholinergics, and/or benzodiazepines to placebo, no treatment, or a CRM.
Results: Five RCTs, enrolling 296 patients, were included in the quantitative analysis. We found that vestibular suppressants may have no effect on symptom resolution at the point of longest follow-up (14-31 days in four studies) when evaluated as a continuous outcome (standardized mean difference -0.03 points, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.53 to 0.47). Conversely, CRMs may improve symptom resolution at the point of longest follow-up as a dichotomous outcome when compared to vestibular suppressants (relative risk [RR] 0.63, 95% CI 0.52 to 0.78). Vestibular suppressants had an uncertain effect on symptom resolution within 24 h (mean difference [MD] 5 points, 95% CI -16.92 to 26.94), repeat emergency department (ED)/clinic visits (RR 0.37, 95% CI 0.12 to 1.15), patient satisfaction (MD 0 points, 95% CI -1.02 to 1.02), and quality of life (MD -1.2 points, 95% CI -2.96 to 0.56). Vestibular suppressants had an uncertain effect on adverse events.
Conclusions: In patients with BPPV, vestibular suppressants may have no effect on symptom resolution at the point of longest follow-up; however, there is evidence toward the superiority of CRM over these medications. Vestibular suppressants have an uncertain effect on symptom resolution within 24 h, repeat ED/clinic visits, patient satisfaction, quality of life, and adverse events. These data suggest that a CRM, and not vestibular suppressants, should be the primary treatment for BPPV.
Keywords: BPPV; anticholinergics; antihistamines; benzodiazepines; clinical trial; phenothiazines; randomized; vestibular suppressants.
© 2022 Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.