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List of Ototoxic Drugs that Cause Tinnitus

Certain prescription drugs can, over time, have an ototoxic effect on your hearing, causing hearing loss and ear ringing from tinnitus. Ototoxicity may be reversible or may be permanent, depending on the type of medication used, dosage and duration of treatment. There are many medications that have been listed as potentially ototoxic drugs, including antidepressants, antibiotics, and many painkillers.

List of Ototoxic Drugs that Cause Tinnitus

What are ototoxic drugs?

Ototoxic medications have a toxic effect on the nerve cells of your inner ears. Over time, long-term usage of certain prescription medications can result in tinnitus or hearing loss.

Please speak with your doctor before discontinuing or reducing your intake of any medication.

Here is a list of medications that can potentially cause tinnitus.

  1. Salicylates – Aspirin and aspirin containing products
  2. Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) – Advil, Aleve, Anaprox, Clinoril, Feldene, Indocin, Lodine, Motrin, Nalfon, Naprosyn, Nuprin, Poradol, Voltarin.
  3. Antibiotics – Aminoglycosides, Erythromycin, Vancomycin
    1. Aminoglycosides – Streptomycin, Kanamycin, Neomycin, Gantamycin, Tobramysin, Amikacin, and Netilmicin
    2. Erythromycin – EES, Eryc, E-mycin, Ilosone, Pediazole and new derivatives of Erythromycin, Biaxin, and Zithromax
    3. Vancomycin – Vincocin
  4. Loop Diuretics – Lasix, Endecrin, and Bumex
  5.  Chemotherapy Agents – Cisplatin, Nitrogen Mustard, and Vincristine
  6.  Quinine – Aralen, Atabrine (for treatment of malaria), Legatrin, and Q-Vel Muscle Relaxant (for treatment of night cramps)


Ototoxic drugs that worsen tinnitus

Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can worsen ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Starting a new medication or increasing your dose of ototoxic prescription drugs can make symptoms of tinnitus more pronounced.

Medicines that commonly cause tinnitus or make tinnitus worse include some of the following:

  • Antibiotics
  • Antidepressants.
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Blood pressure medicine
  • Heart medicines
  • Local anesthetic agents
  • Medicines used to treat cancer
  • Medicine used to treat Parkinson’s disease
  • Radiation therapy to the head or neck.
  • Some vitamins or mineral supplements, such as niacin or vitamin A.
  • Water pills (diuretics)

The signs of ototoxicity, in order of frequency

Symptoms of ototoxic drug reaction include:

a)      Development of tinnitus in one or both ears.

b)      Intensification of existing tinnitus or the appearance of a new sound.

c)      Fullness or pressure in the ears other than being caused by infection.

d)      Awareness of hearing loss in an unaffected ear or the progression of an existing loss.

e)      Development of vertigo or a spinning sensation usually aggravated by motion which may or may not be accompanied by nausea.”


It is strongly suggested that if any of these symptoms develop while taking any medication, call your doctor immediately.

Antioxidants help with tinnitus

If you must take ototoxic medications, it is a good idea to also take antioxidants, in order to lower your chances for developing tinnitus.

You might also consider having your hearing monitored with regular audiological evaluations.

Like this?

Also read:

 Ototoxic Drugs Cause Hearing Loss or Tinnitus

4 Reasons for Depression and Tinnitus

Understanding Tinnitus- What does it All Mean?


Image(s) courtesy of dream designs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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