Objective To determine the efficacy of intratympanic gentamicin instillation as treatment of incapacitating unilateral Meniere's disease, using a predetermined regimen with a fixed dose.
Study Design A prospective study from a single institution between 1988 and 1998.
Methods One hundred fourteen patients were enrolled in this study. Gentamicin (26.7 mg/mL) was administered three times daily for 4 consecutive days. The Committee on Hearing and Equilibrium Guidelines for Reporting Treatment Results in Meniere's Disease of the American Academy of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery (1985) were used.
Results Comprehensive data were available for 90 individuals. Complete control of vertigo was achieved in 76 (84.4%), substantial control in 8 (9.0%), limited control in 2 (2.2%), and insignificant control in 4 (4.4%) patients. Disability scores at the end of 2 years were as follows: 76 patients (84.4%) had no disability, 5 (5.6%) had mild disability, 2 (2.2%) had moderate disability, and 7(7.8%) had severe disability. Caloric testing responses, as determined using electronystagmography, were as follows: 71% of the patients had an absent ice-water response, 16% had a positive ice-water response, and in 13% there continued to be present a bithermal response. Hearing was worse in 22 patients (25.6%), unchanged in 41 (48.2%), and improved in 22 (25.6%).
Conclusions Intratympanic gentamicin administration using this particular protocol is an effective treatment option for patients with disabling unilateral Meniere's disease. Hearing loss is a distinct possibility, and patients should be advised accordingly.