Here we look at the claims for Betahistine.
Some potential for harm
Evidence that it is not effective
The makers claim
That betahistine reduces or eliminates the perception of tinnitus by increasing the circulation of blood in the inner ear.
What is the treatment?
Betahistine is given in pill form.
What are the downsides of this treatment?
Some studies suggest that betahistine is generally well tolerated but there is some evidence of side effects – generally gastrointestinal upset.
Has there been research into this treatment?
What does the research say?
Studies did not show differences in tinnitus loudness, severity of tinnitus symptoms or side effects between participants receiving betahistine and participants receiving a placebo.
NICE guidelines say do not offer betahistine to treat tinnitus.
There are other evidence-based treatments for tinnitus, which should be offered where appropriate.
No medications have been shown to reliably eliminate or reduce the perception of tinnitus.
Betahistine is licensed for the treatment of Ménière’s disease, of which tinnitus may be a symptom, but it is not licenced for tinnitus alone.
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All online references accessed 31 October 2022 unless noted.
1. National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management: Evidence review N: Betahistine (2020).
2. Wegner I, Hall DA, Smit AL, McFerran D, Stegeman I. Betahistine for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (2018). Issue 12. Art. No.: CD013093.DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013093.pub2.
3. National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management (2020). Mar. www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng155
4. Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 2014;151(2_suppl): S1-S40.