The uses of nimodipine for otolaryngic indications are reviewed, and recommendations for its use in clinical practice are provided.Summary
Nimodipine is currently indicated for the improvement of neurologic outcomes in adult patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH). However, other oral and i.v. calcium channel blockers have not exhibited the same beneficial effects in patients with aSAH, leading clinicians to believe that nimodipine possesses unique neuroprotective effects in addition to its calcium channel–blocking and vasodilatory properties. Consequently, clinical investigations of nimodipine have been conducted for cochlear and facial nerve preservation after vestibular schwannoma (VS) surgery, symptomatic management of Ménière's disease and peripheral vertigo, and recovery of vocal cord paralysis after laryngeal nerve injury. Three prospective randomized studies have investigated nimodipine for hearing and/or nerve preservation in patients undergoing VS resection, the results of which have suggested a potential benefit of initiating nimodipine during the perioperative period. Several studies of Ménière's disease and/or peripheral vertigo have reported improved symptom control with nimodipine. For vocal fold paralysis associated with recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) injury, nimodipine may increase the recovery rate based on the results of 1 nonrandomized prospective study that used nimodipine in a protocolized manner. One small pilot study found that nimodipine improved facial nerve function after maxillofacial surgery.Conclusion
Due to its proposed vasoactive and neuroprotective effects, nimodipine may play a role in the treatment of a number of otolaryngic pathologies including VS, Ménière's disease, peripheral vertigo, RLN injury, and facial weakness after maxillofacial surgery. Small studies have shown improved symptom control and recovery after surgery. Since all of the aforementioned indications are still considered off label, clinicians and patients should collaboratively assess the risks and benefits before initiating treatment.