Some Medication can Damage Hearing – Ototoxicity

Medication that can damage hearing - Ototoxicity - audiologist in pretoria

What is Ototoxicity?

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Certain medications can damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss, ringing in ear, or balance disorders.  These drugs are considered Ototoxic.

Factors affecting Ototoxicity include:

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  • Co-administration with other drugs having ototoxic potential
  • Dose
  • Duration of therapy
  • Concurrent renal failure
  • Infusion rate
  • Lifetime dose
  • Genetic susceptibility

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Some Drugs that Cause Ototoxicity include:                                                       

  • Antibiotics
  • Aminoglycosides
  • Vancomycin
  • Chemotherapeutic drugs
  • Platinum containing drugs eg. Cisplatin
  • Diuretics
  • Ethacrynic acid
  • Flurosemide
  • Malaria medicine
  • Quinine
  • Salicylates

Prevention

  • Ototoxic antibiotics should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Elderly and people with pre-existing hearing loss should not be treated with ototoxic drugs if other effective drugs are available.
  • The lowest effective dosage of ototoxic drug should be used and levels should be closely monitored.
  • The risk of ototoxicity increases with the use of multiple drugs with ototoxic potential.
  • If possible before treatment with an ototoxic drug, hearing should be tested and then monitored during treatment.

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