The potential for hearing loss and tinnitus from some medications

Ototoxic medications are those that can damage the ear and cause hearing loss or balance problems. Some common ototoxic medications include:
  • Aspirin (in high doses)
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and naproxen
  • Certain antibiotics, including aminoglycosides (such as gentamicin) and vancomycin
  • Cancer chemotherapy agents such as cisplatin
  • Some diuretics, including furosemide (Lasix) and ethacrynic acid (Edecrin)
Some medications can also cause tinnitus (ringing in the ears). These include:
  • Certain antidepressants, including amitriptyline and sertraline
  • Certain anti-anxiety medications, such as alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Certain blood pressure medications, including captopril and propranolol
  • Certain cancer medications, including vincristine and vinblastine
  • Certain cholesterol-lowering medications, including atorvastatin (Lipitor) and simvastatin (Zocor)
  • Certain medications used to treat erectile dysfunction, including sildenafil (Viagra) and tadalafil (Cialis)
It’s important to note that not everyone who takes ototoxic medications will experience hearing loss or balance problems. However, if you are taking any of these medications and experience hearing loss, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), or balance problems, you should tell your doctor right away. They may be able to adjust your dosage or switch you to a different medication.

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