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Treatment

Your doctor may begin treatment by recommending bed rest or prescribing medications that suppress the activity of the inner ear, such as meclizine (Antivert, Bonine and other brand names), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) or promethazine (Phenergan); anticholinergic medications such as scopolamine (Transderm-Sco); or a tranquilizer, such as diazepam (Valium). Depending on the cause and duration of the vertigo, additional advice may be offered.

For benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, your doctor may move your head and body through a series of positions. This is done in the office, usually on the examining table. The maneuvers move the tiny free floating crystals out of the sensing tube. The most commonly used method is the Epley maneuver. Your doctor also may provide specific maneuvers for you to continue at home.

For more persistent vertigo, your doctor may recommend other types of vestibular rehabilitation, also called balance rehabilitation. The types of exercises prescribed depend upon the underlying cause of dizziness and what movements provoke the symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to an audiologist and/or a physical therapist to help design and instruct your therapy.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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