Saturday, 24 September 2011

Clonazepam For Tinnitus

Clonazepam is a benzodiazepine drug (a "benzo") that is used for many medical conditions such as epilepsy, panic disorder and as an anti-anxiety medication.

Some ENTs advise using this drug to treat tinnitus and many people report an improvement. In some countries, it is a favorite drug among doctors precisely for this purpose (for example, in France, where doctors are notorious for prescribing lots of medication generally, relative to those in other countries). However, in some people, Clonazepam doesn't appear to do anything.

How is this? Could it be simply due to reduced anxiety (anxiety/stress are well known to be linked to tinnitus intensity) and therefore you could use an alternative antidepressant drug or is there some other reason?

It is postulated that because benzodiazepine drugs work on GABA receptors which are neurotransmitter sensitive, that this therefore means that they are neuroinhibiting and can reduce the overactivity of nerves responsible for tinnitus.

One of the problems with all benzodiazepine drugs is that they are highly addictive and never intended as a long term measure. So does this mean they are just a temporary measure? Not necessarily, because some report that the benefits remain after they wean themselves off the drugs. One of the problems sometimes reported is a rebound effect of tinnitus temporarily getting worse after coming off the drugs but this usually dissipates quickly and it is not recommended to go immediately back onto treatment.

Not much in the way of studies have been done on Clonazepam for treating tinnitus but on such can be found here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14763236. The authors of the study concluded tinnitus was improved in 32% of patients. They also found that 16.9% of patients experienced "adverse side effects" including light or mild drowsiness, depression, nightmares, or lowering of libido.

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