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"Ringing In The Ear" May Respond To Alcoholism Drug


10/19/2005 5:12:41 PM

A drug used to treat alcoholism can help people with tinnitus, the "ringing in the ears" that can make life miserable, Brazilian researchers report. Nearly 90 percent of a small group of people with tinnitus reported substantial relief after taking the drug acamprosate, according to otolaryngologists at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. "In 47.8 percent of the cases, we found relief higher than 50 percent," they noted, adding that "the incidence of side effects was low." The researchers attributed acamprosate's success to its effect on glutamate, an amino acid that stimulates activity of the nervous system. Their theory is that tinnitus is caused by disruptions in the same glutamate pathways that are involved in addiction to alcohol. Acamprosate, marketed as Campral by Lipha Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Lyon, France, is widely used in Europe and was approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration as a treatment for alcohol dependence. The findings were to be presented at the American Academy of Otolaryngology's annual meeting, which starts Sept. 25 in Los Angeles.

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