What are the Different Types of Vertigo Medications?

Ron Marr
Ron Marr
Some people need medication to deal with vertigo.
Some people need medication to deal with vertigo.

Vertigo and dizziness are disconcerting, uncomfortable, and sometimes debilitating. Symptoms can range from a slight lack of balance to a nauseating spinning reminiscent of a carnival ride. Some forms of vertigo are centralized, the result of problems with the brain or spinal cord. More common is peripheral vertigo, which typically stems from dysfunction with the fluids, nerves, and balance mechanisms of the inner ear. Both types of vertigo can be treated, and the remedies for peripheral forms are often quite simple.

Medications to treat migraines are sometimes used to treat vertigo.
Medications to treat migraines are sometimes used to treat vertigo.

Vertigo is sometimes cause by migraine headaches. The vertigo medications used to relieve this form of dizziness vary widely, just as do the various classes of migraines. The vertigo medications used to treat migraine-related dizziness are often the same ones used to treat standard migraine symptoms. Programs in stress reduction, dietary restrictions, and an emphasis on healthy sleep habits will hasten recovery.

The most common form of peripheral vertigo is known in medical circles as benign positional vertigo (BPV). The person who suffers from this ailment becomes dizzy when he turns his head in a certain direction, due to fluid imbalance within the inner ear. The fluid shifts when the head is moved either horizontally or vertically, creating the perception of rapid movement.

BPV is sometimes treated with vertigo medications such as meclizine; this is the generic version of the drug given to those who suffer from car or seasickness. A more common vertigo medication offering relief from BPV is not an indigestible medication at all, but is a simple therapy called the Epley Maneuver. The procedure involves the vertigo sufferer turning his head at 45- and 90-degree angles, and holding each position for five minutes. Patients sit upright and lie down while being treated with the Epley Maneuver, and vertigo often lessens or disappears entirely after the entire exercise is repeated three times.

Perhaps the most severe and nauseating of peripheral vertigo afflictions is Meniere’s Disease. Dizziness brought on by Meniere’s can last for 24 hours or more. The cause of the disease is unknown, but it is suspected that genetic and environmental factors serve as a trigger. Luckily, Meniere’s Disease can be treated in a variety of different ways.

Vertigo medications that provide relief from Meniere’s include steroid injections through the eardrum. Stress reduction, a low-sodium diet, and abstinence from caffeine are also important. Persistent cases of Meniere’s might require surgery, but the incidence of a case requiring such drastic measures is extremely rare.

Discussion Comments


If you do suffer from vertigo, don't just write it off as something you can't do anything about. In some cases it is caused by your brain, but in others it is a physical symptom of difficulties with your inner ear.

My brother is an audiologist and he told me he gets people all the time who only complain about it in passing, and then it turns out there's something wrong with the fluid in their ear which can easily be fixed.

They assumed they'd just suddenly developed a fear of something, since the symptoms feel similar to that.


@indigomoth - It might have been psychological, as a lot of people suffer from vertigo when confronted with heights or something else that they are scared of.

But, since that doesn't sound likely with your sister, as she's confronted heights before, she might have some kind of problem with her inner ear. Has anyone else in the family ever complained of anything like this? It might be some form of BPV that only occurs when she's doing certain kinds of movements, or maybe something that developed in the time between when she bungy jumped and when she sky dived.

It certainly wouldn't hurt to get it checked out. Particularly if she starts feeling symptoms of vertigo at other times.

Recently my sister suffered from some terrible vertigo symptoms. She thought she was going to die, in fact, they were so terrifying and severe.

She was sky diving at the time, and since she had been bungee jumping before, she didn't think there would be any problem.

But a few moments into the dive (which was done in tandem with another person, because it was her first one) she started feeling dizzy and then like she was going to throw up.

Even though they weren't spinning, they were falling straight, she felt as though they were.

She told me it was her worst nightmare, not least because she was worried she would throw up and it would somehow hit her diving partner.

To make things worse, you actually have to be ready to land properly, because even with the chute you can break a leg if you don't.

Once the chute opened it wasn't so bad, but she said she'd never do it again, because she felt terrible the whole way down.

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    • Some people need medication to deal with vertigo.
      By: takasu
      Some people need medication to deal with vertigo.
    • Medications to treat migraines are sometimes used to treat vertigo.
      By: JPC-PROD
      Medications to treat migraines are sometimes used to treat vertigo.