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Dizziness and Vertigo

From The MS Information Sourcebook, produced by the National MS Society.

Dizziness is a common symptom of MS. People with MS may feel off balance or lightheaded. Much less often, they have the sensation that they or their surroundings are spinning—a condition known as vertigo.

These symptoms are due to lesions—damaged areas—in the complex pathways that coordinate visual, spatial, and other input to the brain needed to produce and maintain equilibrium.

Consult a physician when dizziness or vertigo becomes bothersome or lasts a long time. Usually, the symptoms respond to an anti motion-sickness drug such as meclizine (Antivert®, Bonine®, or Dramamine®), the newer skin patches that deliver scopolamine, or the anti-nausea drug ondansetron (Zofran®). In very severe cases of dizziness or vertigo, a short course of corticosteroids may be needed.

Disorders of the Middle Ear Can Also Cause Dizziness
Other conditions that may cause dizziness include middle ear inflammation and benign tumors of the acoustic nerve that connects the ear and the brain.

For additional information about disorders of the ear, contact these organizations:

E.A.R. Foundation
1817 Paterson Street
Nashville, TN 37203
(615) 627-2724
FAX: (615) 284-7935
Web site: www.earfoundation.org/
Email: earfoundation@earfoundation.org

Vestibular Disorders Association
PO Box 13305
Portland OR 97213
Phone: (800) 837-8428 (voicemail)
FAX: (503) 229-8064
Web site: www.vestibular.org/
Email: info@vestibular.org

See also...



Society Web Resources


Schapiro R. Managing the Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (5th ed.). New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007.
—Ch. 16 Dizziness and Vertigo




Last updated January 2007