Intratympanic Treatment of Intractable Unilateral Ménière Disease: Gentamicin or Dexamethasone? A Randomized Controlled Trial

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To determine the efficacy and safety of low-dose intratympanic gentamicin (ITG) compared with intratympanic dexamethasone (ITD) in patients with intractable unilateral Ménière disease (MD).

Study Design.

Open prospective randomized controlled study.


Tertiary referral center.

Subjects and Methods.

Sixty patients affected by definite unilateral MD were enrolled between January 1, 2007, and June 30, 2008. Thirty-two patients were treated with a buffered gentamicin solution injected in the middle ear (maximum of 2 injections); 28 patients were treated with ITD (4 mg/mL, 3 injections at intervals of 1 every 3 days). Mean outcome measurements consisted of control of vertigo attacks, pure tone average (PTA), speech discrimination score, functional disability score, and statistical analysis using repeated measures analysis of variance.


In the ITG group at 2-year follow-up, complete control of vertigo (class A) was achieved in 26 patients (81%) and substantial control of vertigo (class B) in 4 patients (12.5%). In the ITD group, class A was achieved in 12 (43%), and class B in 5 (18%) patients. In the gentamicin group, 4 patients showed a reduction in PTA of >10 dB. In the ITD group, PTA was unchanged or slightly improved in 16 patients (belonging to class A-B) and worse in 12.


Low-dose ITG achieved better outcome than ITD in the control of vertigo attacks in patients suffering from unilateral MD, with a very low incidence of hearing deterioration. ITD offers poorer vertigo control rate, and hearing preservation is achieved only in cases with no vertigo recurrences.

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