Last time readers came by to learn about hearing health, readers found plenty of information on causes of tinnitus. To continue this series, visitors will learn about the connection between tinnitus and antidepressants. Speak to your ENT and mental health team before making any changes to your antidepressant medication regimen.

Stopping ototoxic medications under guidance:

Today, we are sharing nine medications that may cause tinnitus. As we have previously mentioned, tinnitus is the perception of sound in one or both ears in the absence of an actual sound. Some patients describe buzzing, ringing, or whooshing.

It is very common to not find the cause of a patient’s tinnitus. While there is no known cause, doctors do know that certain medications are ototoxic. This is just a fancy word for something that can harm or effect one’s hearing.

Fortunately, it is quite simple. Patients are usually advised to taper down off of the medications under the guidance of a doctor. Discontinuing ototoxic medications may prevent tinnitus and further hearing loss progression.

However, the ringing may not always go away. Speak with your team of doctors before stopping the use of any medications. Now, we thought it was best to share the medications that are considered ototoxic, so you can begin the journey of finding the culprit.

Ototoxic medications:

NSAIDs are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Ibuprofen and naproxen are two examples of NSAIDs. You may know them by certain name brands such as Advil, Motrin, or Aleve.

The effect seems to be reversible once the medications are not being consumed any longer. For patients that take aspirin daily at a very low dose, or contrarily NSAIDs for only a short period of time, it is unlikely tinnitus will be experienced as an adverse reaction.

Benzodiazepines are helpful for short periods of time for anxiety. Alprazolam, diazepam, and lorazepam are a few examples. The most known name brands for these are Xanax, Valium, and Ativan.

Ringing in the ears is a complication of benzodiazepine withdrawal for those that have taken any of these medications for extended periods of time. It is not common to experience tinnitus while taking these medications.

Importance of tapering down:

This is a great example of why medications should be tapered down, or gradually decreased, with the guidance of a medical professional. The slow tapering may minimize withdrawal symptoms.

Join us next time as we share more ototoxic medications. Be cognizant of any health changes after starting new medications. If you have been on medications for a while and notice new health issues, do your own research on their complications as well as discussing concerns with doctors.

Staff Writer

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