Intravenous dexamethasone in acute management of vestibular neuritis: a randomized, placebo-controlled, single-blind trial

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Abstract

Introduction

The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of intravenous dexamethasone in relieving the symptoms and signs of vestibular neuritis in the emergency department setting.

Patients and methods

This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, superiority, single-blind study. Patients were randomized either to intravenous dexamethasone (group A) or to placebo (group B), with all patients receiving symptomatic therapy. The primary outcome was defined as necessity to hospitalize patients who present with vestibular neuritis in the emergency department. The secondary outcomes were (a) improvement in nystagmus, (b) improvement in postural instability, (c) lessening of nausea, (d) lessening of vomiting, and (e) recovery of subjective symptoms.

Results

Altogether, 100 patients were randomized, 51 into group A and 49 into group B. There was no difference in the hospitalization rate between groups (P=0.284). In both groups, there was a statistically significant difference in the values of all measured variables 2 h after therapy intervention compared with the baseline values. In group A, significantly fewer patients had third-degree nystagmus 2 h after therapy intervention whereas the difference in group B did not reach statistical significance. After therapy, more patients had first-degree nystagmus in group A as well as in group B than before the intervention. There was a significantly greater absolute difference in European Evaluation of Vertigo scale results in group A compared with group B.

Conclusion

The value of dexamethasone cannot be established, given the small sample and limitations of the present study. Some observations consistent with clinical improvement cannot exclude a true treatment effect, and further study is still warranted.

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