Here we look at the claims for anticonvulsants.

Version: 2.1 Last updated: April 2023 To be reviewed: November 2025

Treatment details

Illustration of bottle of pills.





Some potential for harm



The makers claim

That anticonvulsants potentially reduce central auditory hyperactivity that may be related to tinnitus[1].

What is the treatment?

Anticonvulsants are taken in pill or capsule form.

What are the downsides of this treatment?

Common side effects from clinical trials included nausea, dizziness, headache, tiredness[2].

Has there been research into this treatment?

Seven in the Cochrane review[2]. Eight RCTs considered by the Clinical Practice Guideline[1].

What does the research say?

There is no evidence to show that anticonvulsants have a large positive effect in the treatment of tinnitus[2].

Carbamazepine and oxcarbazepine are not more effective than placebo in decreasing tinnitus severity[10].

Use of these drugs for epilepsy may result in tinnitus and other auditory dysfunctions[11].

There is no evidence to show that anticonvulsants have an impact on tinnitus.

Side effects were experienced by 18% of patients in the trials reviewed[1].

Tinnitus UK


Studies seldom used appropriate outcome measures and had high risk of bias.

All online references accessed 1 November 2022 unless noted.

1. Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. (2014) 151(2_suppl): S1-S40.doi:10.1177/0194599814545325

2. Hoekstra CEL, Rynja SP, van Zanten GA, Rovers MM. Anticonvulsants for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2011) Issue 7. Art. No.: CD007960. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.

3. Bakhshaee M, Ghasemi M, Azarpazhooh M, Khadivi E, Rezaei S, Shakeri M, et al. Gabapentin effectiveness on the sensation of subjective idiopathic tinnitus: a pilot study. European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology (2007) 265(5):525-30.

4. Dehkordi, MA, Abolbashari, S, Taheri, R, Einolghozati, S. Efficacy of gabapentin on subjective idiopathic tinnitus: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Ear Nose Throat Journal.
(2011) 90:150-158.

5. Reed HT, Meltzer J, Crews P, Norris CH, Quine DB. Guth PS. Amino oxyacetic acid as a palliative in tinnitus. Archives of Otolaryngology. (1985) 111: 803-805

6. Simpson JJ, Gilbert AM, Weiner GM, Davies WW. The assessment of lamotrigine, an antiepileptic drug, in the treatment of tinnitus. American Journal of Otology (1999) 20:627-31.

7. Donaldson I. Tegretol: a double blind trial in tinnitus. Journal of Laryngology and Otology. (1981) 95: 947-951

8. Hulshof JH, Vermeij P. The value of carbamazepine in the treatment of tinnitus. ORL: Journal of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology and Its Related Specialties (1985) 47:262-6

9. Hulshof JH, Vermeij P. The value of flunarizine in the treatment of tinnitus. ORL: Journal of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
and Its Related Specialties (1986) 48:33-6.

10. Gerami H, Saberi A, Nemati S, Kazemnejad E, Aghajanpour M. Effects of oxcarbazepine versus carbamazepine on tinnitus: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Iranian
Journal of Neurology. (2012) 11(3):106–110.

11. Sherifa A Hamed (2017) The auditory and vestibular toxicities induced by antiepileptic drugs, Expert Opinion on Drug Safety, 16:11, 1281-1294, DOI: 10.1080/14740338.2017.1372420