The medical treatment of tinnitus

J Laryngol Otol Suppl. 1981;(4):130-8.


Currently there are three methods of treating patients with intractable tinnitus, a physical one using masking (Vernon, 1977), a psychosomatic method using biofeedback (House et al., 1977), and a chemical treatment using intravenous lidocaine and the oral anticonvulsants--carbamazepine, primidone and lidocaine amine. The latter seems to be the most promising, being easier to use, less time-consuming, more accurate to assess, and relying less on the patient's active participation and intelligence. The only disadvantages of the chemical method are the serious side-effects of the drugs in use. This can be managed by careful administration of these drugs and monitoring of the patient. In the future, new anticonvulsants with fewer side-effects will certainly be produced. It may be that chemical treatment can be combined with the masking and/or the biofeedback methods with a synergistic result. Another possible use of carbamazepine is in the treatment of palatal myoclonus and other similar disorders. Further clinical studies are needed to corroborate this application of the treatment.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use*
  • Diethylcarbamazine / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use
  • Myoclonus / drug therapy
  • Phenytoin / therapeutic use
  • Primidone / therapeutic use
  • Tinnitus / drug therapy*
  • Tinnitus / etiology


  • Primidone
  • Carbamazepine
  • Phenytoin
  • Lidocaine
  • Diethylcarbamazine