IM this article to a friend!

October 31, 2002

Treatment May Silence Meniere's Symptoms

From: KERO, CA
Oct. 31, 2002

Injections of Antibiotic Used To Treat Inner Ear

CHICAGO -- A new treatment involving a simple injection may help victims of Meniere's disease, an inner ear disorder that causes dizziness, nausea and constant ringing in the ears.

Anthony Lococo, 29, has had the disorder for the past five years.

"I can only do so much each day without getting fatigued," Lococo said. "I can't drive at all. Riding in cars is even a chore, being a passenger. My eyes start getting all fluttery, and my head starts filling up with a lot of pressure, and I start getting dizzy."

The exact cause of Meniere's disease is not known, but symptoms can include vertigo, nausea, hearing loss and ringing in the ear.

"I went through numerous doctors, numerous tests," Lococo said.

But Lococo said nothing helped -- not medication, not even surgery. Now he's hoping to benefit from the new treatment offered by Dr. Sam Marzo, an ear surgeon at Loyola Medical Center in Chicago.

"The inner ears have a delicate balance between both sides," Marzo explained. "And the theory is, for whatever reason, one of the ears loses its ability to maintain fluid balance, and the fluid distends within the inner ear. And when the membranes rupture, that gives you the classic attack of Meniere's disease."

To treat the problem, Marzo offers his patients a simple solution from a tiny bottle -- an injection of Gentomycin, which is an antibiotic.

But the Gentomycin is not being used to treat an infection; instead, it works to help balance out the inner ear.

It took Marzo a matter of seconds to inject the Gentomycin in Lococo's ear. Over the next two to three weeks, the medicine is supposed to work slowly to decrease the amount of fluid the inner ear secretes, so Lococo would have to wait to see if the treatment was a success.

Marie Zlenka, 84, who suffered from the disorder for many years, said she is already benefiting from her Gentomycin treatment.

"Dizziness, I'd get it anytime," Zlenka said. "It would wake me up in the middle of the night. Then I'd be throwing up, and it would last about three to four hours."

But after having the treatment, she said that all changed.

"Oh, god, it's a different world," Zlenka said. "It's a different world."

Marzo said it takes some patients a couple of injections before they get relief, but so far, he said, 90 percent of his patients have been helped with this new technique.

Copyright 2002 by All rights reserved.