Name of treatment

Amitriptyline

Type of treatment

Pharmaceutical

Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept. 

How treatment is delivered

Oral administration

Potential negative consequences

Common side effects from clinical trials included: sedation, sexual dysfunction and dry mouth1.

Evidence offered:

Papers available

2 (as in the Cochrane review[1])

Conclusions drawn

It is yet unclear if the potential benefits of antidepressants stem from reducing tinnitus distress or depression; well designed, long studies are necessary.

The studies reviewed were not of good enough quality nor long enough duration to be reliable.

Quality of evidence[2]

A

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

Yes where clinically indicated for low mood

BTA opinion on this treatment:

Antidepressants may be administered to diminish depression and anxiety in tinnitus. There are, however, low evidence levels for the administration of antidepressants for reducing tinnitus distress.

We suggest talking to your doctor about the potential effects and side effects of antidepressants.

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if high quality study

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

  Limited potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy - does this treatment work?

 

No evidence of effect

[1]  Baldo P, Doree C, Molin P, McFerran D, Cecco S. Antidepressants for patients with tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 9. Art. No.: CD003853. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003853.pub3.

[2] A = Systematic review/meta analysis. B = Randomised control studies. C = Cohort studies. D = Case control studies. E = case studies/reports. +/- to be used to indicate quality within bands

Download this information:

Tinnitus_and_amitriptyline_June_2019.pdf

Updated 11 June 2019

Photo: courtesy Rünno [Public domain]