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Acta Otolaryngol. 2003 Jun;123(5):588-93.

Double-blind, randomized, multicenter study comparing the effect of betahistine and flunarizine on the dizziness handicap in patients with recurrent vestibular vertigo.

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Second Department of Otorhinolaryngology, San Giovanni Battista Hospital, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.



The aim of this double-blind, randomized, multicenter study was to compare the efficacy of betahistine dihydrochloride (BH) and flunarizine (FL) using the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (DHI), a validated self-assessment questionnaire that has not previously been used in a clinical trial to evaluate antivertigo drugs.


Patients with recurrent vertigo of peripheral vestibular origin and who were severely handicapped by vertigo were randomized to an 8-week course of treatment with oral BH 48 mg daily or oral FL 10 mg daily. The efficacy endpoints were the total DHI score and the physical, functional and emotional subscores.


Fifty-two patients completed the study. After 8 weeks of treatment the mean total DHI score and the physical subscore were significantly lower in the BH group compared to the FL group (7.5 and 3.6 points, respectively). The mean total DHI score as well as the three subscores decreased significantly after 4 and 8 weeks in both treatment groups.


This study showed that at 8 weeks BH is significantly more effective than FL in terms of improving the total DHI score and the physical subscore. It was also established that the DHI is a useful and reliable method for evaluating the efficacy of antivertigo drugs.

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