Tinnitus is one of the most common health conditions in the United States. Although tinnitus is commonly explained as a ringing in the ears, the condition may present itself as the perceived sound of buzzing, clicking, swooshing, hissing, or whistling when there is no actual sound.
The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that approximately 50 million Americans—15 percent of the total population—experience some degree of tinnitus. While some of those cases may be mild or temporary, the CDC suggests that roughly 20 million people suffer from chronic tinnitus, while 2 million have severe, debilitating cases. Although management and treatment options are available, there is currently no cure for tinnitus.
Another hearing disorder without a cure at present is Meniere’s disease. Symptoms of Meniere’s disease include vertigo, tinnitus, and fluctuating hearing loss. While the exact cause of this condition is unknown, some medical professionals believe it is caused by inflammation in the inner ear. The condition typically occurs in only one ear, and the symptoms become progressively worse over time.
While nausea or motion sickness medications are sometimes prescribed to manage the symptoms of Meniere’s disease, there is no cure. Depending on the patient’s symptoms and lifestyle habits, a medical professional may also recommend measures such as low salt diets, thiazide diuretics, and oral or locally injected steroids. However, these treatments have shown disappointingly low efficacy. Currently, there are no FDA-approved drugs for treating Meniere’s disease.
Fortunately, new medical research and development may have found a way to relieve patients of the symptoms of tinnitus and Meniere’s disease. A new drug, called SPI-1005, has been fast-tracked by the FDA in the new drug application process.
SPI-1005 is administered orally for 21- or 28-day periods. In two multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled studies, the drug resulted in tinnitus improvement and restored sensorineural hearing loss in patients with Meniere’s disease. These results are exciting on their own, and are made even more thrilling due to the fact that at this time, no other drug is available to improve tinnitus or Meniere’s disease.
With the development of SPI-1005, patients who suffer from tinnitus or Meniere’s disease may get a new chance to improve their symptoms and reclaim their lives. While the drug has not yet been approved by the FDA, the fast-track status of the drug is a reassuring signal that the FDA has recognized the potential of this drug and the relief it may bring to many patients who currently have no other option. Those who suffer from tinnitus and Meniere’s disease often face a hopeless future, with no treatment available; with this new medication, that may all change.
To learn more about this exciting development in treating hearing disorders, or if you would like to learn more about the other treatment options for tinnitus and Meniere’s disease, we invite you to contact our hearing practice today. We are here to answer your questions and provide the information and care you need.