If you are feeling as if you are going to fall-off losing your balance and you feel as if the world around you is spinning, or if there are frequent spells of dizziness, it can be due to incidence of vertigo. Conditions in the inner ear – such as accumulation of fluids inside your ear or altered pressure levels deep within the ears – can lead to vertigo. In some instances, vertigo can be accompanied by loss of hearing as well as ringing inside your ears. These inner ear conditions may be due to an ailment called Meniere’s disease. Apart from these conditions, you may also encounter vertigo due to injuries sustained in your neck or head, headaches or migraines. Drugs such as Betahistine are taken to treat vertigo and the discomforts associated with this condition.

Vertigo results in a dizzy feeling. People describe it in multiple ways – spinning of one’s head, being unbalanced or being swayed away in an involuntary manner. At times, you may witness abdominal discomforts such as vomiting, nausea as well as other signs like sweating, jerky movements of your eyes, severe spells of headaches, loss of hearing as well as ringing deep inside your ears. Those who have experienced may find to last for either a few minutes or for many hours.

What are the treatment options available for vertigo?

The underlying reason for the incidence of vertigo influences the type of treatment required. In most instances, spells of dizziness and other discomforts may go off on their own after a few minutes. This happens as your brain starts to adjust itself to changes occurring deep inside your ear(s). Often times, your system steadies itself by using other ways to keep you balanced. The vestibular system plays a crucial role in keeping you balanced; this system maintains balance against external forces like gravitational pull. So, when your brain adjusts itself – its calls for work from your other senses to provide needful balance.

The academy of neurology – based in the US – advises use of body and head movements to help remove calcium deposits accumulated inside your ear. You are advised to learn these movements from a qualified therapist or a doctor. Such body movements are found to be efficient in treating vertigo caused by calcium deposits (also known as canalith). In very rare instances, your doctor may perform a surgery; this option is however pursued only when the condition is fairly acute and is triggered by tumor(s) in your neck or brain. In case of vertigo caused by Meniere’s syndrome or disease, your treating doctor may prescribe water pills – i.e., diuretics; intake of water pills can help decrease the pressure levels deep inside your ears.

Betahistine for the treatment of vertigo

Among drugs administered for the treatment of vertigo, betahistine is a widely used medication. It is taken for reducing dizziness, nausea and inner ear discomforts; in short, this drug is used for the treatment of vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease. The key cause of this ailment is a drop in inner ear pressure. This drop can cause vertigo, characterised by nausea, spells of dizziness as well as ringing inside your ears.

You are advised to take this drug as prescribed by your treating doctor. It is not a good practice to stop taking this drug without needful advice of your physician. Also, it is not a good practice to take this drug when you are not experiencing symptoms associated with Meniere’s disease; people who took this drug without experiencing vertigo reported dizziness, loss of hearing and other inner ear problems. This drug needs to be taken in doses of 24 milligrams (mg) each day. The maximum permissible dose must never exceed 48 mg. The typical daily dose of 24 mg is taken in three distinctive and equally distributed doses of 8 mg per dose. If your physician has advised daily intake of 48 mg (which is the maximum daily dose), it is split into three doses of 16 mg each.

Possible side effects of betahistine

This drug is likely to cause a few adverse reactions and undesired side effects. The odds of such adverse side effects are more if you have prior allergies to this drug as well as its active ingredients. It becomes important to tell your doctor if you have any known hypersensitivity or allergies to betahistine. Also, those who are living with ulcerous conditions – especially, peptic ulcers or other stomach problems must keep away from taking this drug.

The side effects caused by betahistine may be either minor or acute in nature. Though many of the side effects may disappear soon, some of them may last for a longer span of time. The good news however is, most people who took this drug never reported any major side effects. It is only a very small percentage of people who encountered some discomforts. The common side effects include acid reflux, heartburn, migraines, headaches, flatulence, bloating as well as a few abdominal discomforts like vomiting, nausea, etc. If one or more of these side effects are persistent or turns severe, it is highly recommended to consult your treating doctor or pharmacist without any further delay.

Likely allergic reactions triggered by the intake of betahistine

In some rare instances, this drug may trigger a few allergies. Such allergies may show up as rashes on skin, itchiness, pain in the lower abdomen, etc. Serious allergic reactions may include inflammation of oral organs such as tongue, lips or gums, swelling of nose or cheeks, respiratory problems such as wheezing, gasping or shortness of breath.

Those who are living with respiratory conditions such as bronchial asthma need to keep away from taking this drug. If you have a family history or a clinical record of such respiratory conditions, you are advised to inform your doctor about such prior illnesses. Also, if you are taking any drugs to treat liver or hepatic conditions, you must talk to your treating doctor about the intake of betahistine; you are likely to witness an accumulation of this drug if you are living with liver injuries or an impaired liver function.

Women who are planning to become pregnant must not use this drug. It is recommended to use needful birth control measures. Also, women who are already pregnant must not take this drug. This drug is offered to pregnant women only when your medical condition necessarily requires use of this drug. In case of women who are breastfeeding or nursing a baby, you need to consult your treating physician. It is not fully clear if the active ingredients of this drug can get into mother’s milk / breastmilk. Hence, breastfeeding women must keep away from such meds.

Last but not least, the safety of this drug onto children or younger adults is not fully evidenced. It is hence essential to talk to your child’s doctor / pediatrician prior to administering this med to your children. As an added precaution, it is considered safe to store this drug away from the reach of pets as well as children.

In sum, betahistine is used for the treatment of vertigo caused by Meniere’s disease, which in turn is triggered by a drop in pressure levels in your inner ears. This pressure drop can cause vertigo, characterized by nausea, spells of dizziness as well as ringing inside your ears. Common discomforts associated with the intake of this drug are heartburns, headaches, bloating as well as abdominal problems such as nausea, vomiting, formation of gas, etc. If one or more of these side effects become acute, it is recommended to talk to your physician as quickly as you possibly can.

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