A randomized trial of nortriptyline for severe chronic tinnitus

Effects on depression, disability, and tinnitus symptoms

Mark Sullivan, Wayne Katon, Joan Russo, Robert A Dobie, Connie Sakai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

126 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To determine whether the antidepressant, nortriptyline, is effective for treatment of depression, tinnitus-related disability, and tinnitus symptoms in patients with severe chronic tinnitus. Design: A 12-week, double-blind, randomized controlled trial. Setting: A university otolaryngology clinic. Patients: Ninety-two subjects with severe chronic tinnitus: 38 with current major depression and 54 with depressive symptoms and significant tinnitus-related disability. Intervention: Nortriptyline (maintained at 50 to 150 mg/mL for 6 weeks) or placebo. Main Outcome Measures: Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, Tinnitus Disability Measures, and Audiometric Measures. Results: Nortriptyline was superior to placebo by multivariate analysis of covariance for depression (10.6 vs 14.3 final Hamilton Depression score), for tinnitus-related disability (1.8 vs 2.4 final MPI Tinnitus Interference), and tinnitus loudness (13.6 vs 20.0 dB final loudness match [in worst ear at tinnitus frequency]). When major depression and depressive symptoms groups were considered separately, nortriptyline was superior to placebo on these same measures but differences did not achieve statistical significance. Conclusions: The antidepressant nortriptyline decreases depression, functional disability, and tinnitus loudness associated with severe chronic tinnitus. What appears to be irreversible disability of otologic origin may, in part, be reversible disability of psychiatric origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2251-2259
Number of pages9
JournalArchives of Internal Medicine
Volume153
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 11 1993

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Nortriptyline
Tinnitus
Depression
Placebos
Antidepressive Agents
compound A 12
Otolaryngology
Ear
Psychiatry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine

Cite this

A randomized trial of nortriptyline for severe chronic tinnitus : Effects on depression, disability, and tinnitus symptoms. / Sullivan, Mark; Katon, Wayne; Russo, Joan; Dobie, Robert A; Sakai, Connie.

In: Archives of Internal Medicine, Vol. 153, No. 19, 11.10.1993, p. 2251-2259.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Sullivan, Mark ; Katon, Wayne ; Russo, Joan ; Dobie, Robert A ; Sakai, Connie. / A randomized trial of nortriptyline for severe chronic tinnitus : Effects on depression, disability, and tinnitus symptoms. In: Archives of Internal Medicine. 1993 ; Vol. 153, No. 19. pp. 2251-2259.
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