DentalCare Logo

Adverse Drug Reactions - Part I

Course Number: 536

ADRs Affecting the Ears

Dizziness was the most common potential ADR associated with therapeutic dosages of the top 200 drugs dispensed by U.S. community pharmacies in 2008.15 It is an imprecise term describing various related sensations such as faintness, a feeling of impending syncope; light-headedness; and a feeling of imbalance.35 A false sensation of movement of self or the environment is called vertigo.14,35 Because these symptoms overlap, patients often use the terms dizziness and vertigo interchangeably.

Ototoxic drugs that affect the vestibular apparatus result in vertigo; cochlear ototoxicity results in  hearing loss.14 Ototoxic drugs may also cause tinnitus described by patients as noise in the ears such as buzzing, ringing, roaring, whistling, hissing, or pulsating.14,35 Potentially ototoxic drugs include salicylates; antibiotics such as vancomycin, metronidazole, clindamycin, aminoglycosides (e.g., gentamycin and tobramycin), and macrolides; diuretics (e.g., furosemide); and antineoplastic agents (e.g., cisplatin).35