An inner ear infection, such as labyrinthitis, which occurs when the labyrinth becomes irritated, can sometimes follow an infection of the middle ear or a respiratory infection. In most cases, antibiotics are not an effective inner ear infection treatment because the infection is usually caused by a virus. Typically, inner ear infection treatment involves treating the symptoms of the infection rather than the cause itself. If you have an inner ear infection, you may take anti-nausea medications, sedatives, or antihistamines to help you cope with the symptoms.
One inner ear infection treatment is scopolamine, a small patch that you place on the skin behind your ear. Scopolamine helps treat vertigo caused by an inner ear infection and prevents vomiting. One downside of scopolomine is that it can lead to headaches, nausea, and dizziness if you use it for more than three days and then stop.
Antihistamines, such as those used to treat allergies or motion sickness, are another inner ear infection treatment that reduces nausea and vomiting. They can also reduce the dizziness that comes with vertigo. Dimenhydrinate, one type of antihistamine, blocks acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter, than can make you dizzy. Drowsiness is a common side effect of antihistamines, so they may not work well if you need to stay alert and awake.
Depending on the severity of your vertigo, nausea, and vomiting, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication for your inner ear infection treatment. In some cases, you may need to go on prednisone, a type of corticosteroid. Some people find relief from nausea and vomiting caused by labryinthtis by taking sedatives such as diazepam and lorazepam. Antienemtics such as promethazine and prochlorperazin can also treat nausea and vomiting caused by vertigo and an inner ear infection in severe cases.
If the nausea, vertigo, and other symptoms do not negatively impact your life, you may be able to skip treatment for an inner ear infection and have the infection clear up on its own. Being active and exercising can also help you overcome symptoms of vertigo caused by an inner ear infection. In some cases, if the inner ear infection follows a middle ear infection and is caused by bacteria, you may be able to treat it with antibiotics, which your doctor will need to prescribe. It's important that you finish the course, even if you feel better before you've taken all your medicine, to keep the infection from recurring.