Posted on Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Treatment for Meniere's Disease

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Named after French physician Prosper Meniere, Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear. Symptoms may include incapacitating vertigo, tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in ears), ear pressure, and varying degrees of hearing loss. Meniere's can happen to people of any age, but becomes more common with age. Treatments for Meniere's have been hard to come by, but now the clinical trials of a new drug OTO-104 shows potential promise.

Minniere's is a difficult disease to manage as treatments that work for one person might not work for another. Symptoms of Meniere's can vary as well. An oncoming episode of Meniere’s might include a feeling of fullness in one or both ears, hearing fluctuations, or tinnitus followed by vertigo, imbalance, nausea, and vomiting. An average Meniere’s attack can last two to four hours. Severe attacks can bring on overwhelming physical exhaustion and a staggering need to rest. Although Meniere’s can affect both ears, it typically begins in one ear. Meniere’s disease often causes a gradual and permanent decline in patient’s hearing. This hearing loss is due to damage of the delicate hair cells within the inner ear. Patients with Meniere's have been frustrated by lack of consistent treatments, but a Phase 2b trial of the drug OTO-104 shows exciting promise.

The successful Phase 2b trials of OTO-104 showed a 61% decrease in vertigo after three months of using this medication. The study looked at 154 people with unilateral Meniere's disease. According to Otonomy, the manufacturer of this drug, "...we intend to conduct two parallel Phase 3 trials in Ménière’s disease using DVD during Month 3 as the primary endpoint."

It should come as no surprise that a drug that is effective in treating Meniere's might also be affective in treating ear poisoning or ototoxicity since one cause of Meniere's is thought to be ototoxicity. So in addition to offering help to people with Meniere's OTO-104 has been shown to help reduce hearing loss due to ototoxicity or poisoning of the ear through other medications, specifically cancer treatments. Results of the two separate Phase 3 trials on the results of this drug's effect on Meniere's are expected by the end of 2017.

Though this trial shows a potential benefit to people with Meniere's the end result is still a few years in the making. PHB has compiled a list of current treatments that you could try until the clinical trials are finished. We'll be sure to update this page when the trial is over!

If you have Meniere's or suspect that you might call your hearing health professional today. If you need help finding a hearing health provider click HERE to be connected with the largest network of trusted hearing health professionals in the nation!

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