Name of treatment

Betahistine (Serc®, Betaserc®)

Type of treatment

Pharmaceutical

Claims for treatment

Reduces/eliminates the tinnitus percept by increasing the circulation of the inner ear.[1]

How treatment is delivered

Tablets

Potential negative consequences

Some studies suggest that betahistine is generally well tolerated[2] but there is some evidence of side effects – generally gastrointestinal upset.[1]

Evidence offered:

Papers available

5 considered in the Cochrane review.[2] 6 considered in the NICE Guidelines Evidence Review.[1]

Conclusions drawn

The included studies did not show differences in tinnitus loudness, severity of tinnitus symptoms or side effects between participants receiving betahistine and participants receiving a placebo.[1]

NICE guidelines say do not offer betahistine to treat tinnitus.[3]

Quality of evidence [4]

A

Does the BTA recommend this treatment?

No

BTA opinion on this treatment:

There are other evidence-based treatments for tinnitus, which should be offered where appropriate. No medications have been shown to reliably eliminate or reduce the perception of tinnitus.[5]

Would the BTA support further studies into this treatment?

Yes, if the study uses rigorous methodology. Randomisation and blinding should be of the highest quality.

Verdict: Safety - is this treatment harmful?

 Some potential for harm

Verdict: Efficacy. Does this treatment work?

 Evidence that it is NOT effective

For further information

The BTA Tinnitus Support Team can answer your questions on any tinnitus related topics:

Telephone: 0800 018 0527
Web chat: - click on the icon
Email: [email protected]
Text/SMS: 07537 416841

We also offer a free tinnitus e-learning programme, Take on Tinnitus.

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This information is in PDF format.

tinnitus and betahistine

Feedback

We welcome feedback on all our information. You can pass your comments to our Communications Team:

Telephone: 0114 250 9933
Email: [email protected]
or by writing to us at the address below.

References

[1] National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management: Evidence review N: Betahistine London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2020 Mar. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng155/evidence

[2]  Wegner  I, Hall  DA, Smit  AL, McFerran  D, Stegeman  I. Betahistine for tinnitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2018, Issue 12. Art. No.: CD013093. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD013093.pub2.

[3] National Guideline Centre (UK). Tinnitus: assessment and management: London: National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (UK); 2020 Mar. https://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng155

[4] 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

[5] Tunkel DE, Bauer CA, Sun GH, et al. Clinical Practice Guideline: Tinnitus. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 2014;151(2_suppl): S1-S40. doi:10.1177/0194599814545325

Author: Nic Wray

Version 2.0

Updated: 20 May 2022

To be reviewed: May 2025

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash