Clinical Drug Investigation

, Volume 11, Issue 5, pp 251–260 | Cite as

Piracetam in Patients with Chronic Vertigo

Results of a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study
  • U. Rosenhall
  • W. Deberdt
  • U. Friberg
  • A. Kerr
  • W. Oosterveld
Clinical Use


The nootropic agent piracetam, which exerts diverse effects through actions on cerebral neurotransmission, has been reported to alleviate vertigo. We performed a multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled study to assess the efficacy and tolerability of piracetam 800mg 3 times daily orally for 8 weeks. The study group consisted of 143 middle-aged and elderly outpatients of ear, nose and throat clinics who had suffered from vertigo for at least 3 months, had experienced at least 3 episodes per month, and the vertigo was severe enough to disrupt daily life. Primary outcome measures were patient self-evaluations of vertigo: the frequency of episodes, and their severity using visual analogue scales (VAS). Malaise and imbalance between episodes (VAS), the effect of vertigo on walking (VAS), the duration of incapacity, and overall evaluations by patients and investigators were also assessed. On entry, episodes were more frequent (p < 0.05) and malaise between episodes more severe (p < 0.05) in the piracetam group. Data were not evaluable in 54 patients because of either adverse events (12 piracetam, 12 placebo) or protocol deviations. An intention-to-treat analysis showed that episodes of vertigo were less frequent (p < 0.03) but not less severe on piracetam than on placebo: interval malaise (p < 0.05) and imbalance (p < 0.01) improved more and the duration of incapacity was less (p < 0.05). These changes, which were maximal after 8 weeks’ medication, had almost disappeared 4 weeks after the end of treatment. Tolerance to piracetam was good, with few drug-related adverse events occurring. These findings provide further evidence that piracetam alleviates vertigo by reducing the frequency of episodes, the severity of malaise and imbalance between episodes, and the duration of associated incapacity.


Visual Analogue Scale Adis International Limited Visual Analogue Scale Score Drug Invest Piracetam 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Sixt E, Landahl S. Postural disturbances in a 75-year-old population: prevalence and functional consequences. Age Ageing 1987; 16: 393–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Giurgea C. Piracetam: nootropic pharmacology of neurointegrative activity. Curr Develop Psychopharmacol 1976; 3: 222–73Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Stoll L, Schubert T, Müller WE. Age-related deficits of central muscarinic cholinergic receptor function in the mouse: partial restoration by chronic piracetam treatment. Neurobiol Aging 1991; 13: 39–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cohen SA, Müller WE. Effects of piracetam on N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor properties in the aged mouse brain. Pharmacology 1993; 47: 217–22PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Canonico PL, Aronica E, Aleppe G, et al. Repeated injections of piracetam improve spatial learning and increase the stimulation of inositol phospholipid hydrolysis by excitatory amino acids in aged rats. Funct Neurol 1991; 6(2): 107–11PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wustmann Ch, Fischer HD, Schmidt J. The effect of piracetam on post-hypoxic dopamine release inhibition. Acta Biol Med German 1982; 41: 729–32PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Müller WE, Hartmann H, Koch S, et al. Neurotransmission in aging — therapeutic aspects. In: Racagni G, Brunello N, Langer SZ, editors. Recent advances in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders and cognitive dysfunction. International Academy for Biomedical and Drug Research. Basel: Kager, 1994: 7: 166–73Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Giurgea C, Mouravieff-Lesuisse F. Central hypoxia models and correlations with aging brain. In: Deniker P, Radouco-Thomas C, editors. Neuropsychopharmacology, 1978: 2: 1623–31Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Giurgea C, Greindl MG, Preat S. Nootropic drugs and aging. Acta Psychiatr Belg 1983; 83: 349–58PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dimond SJ, Brouwer EYM. Increase in the power of human memory in normal man through the use of drugs. Psychopharmacologia 1976; 49: 307–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Wilsher C. Piracetam and dyslexia — effects on reading tests. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1987; 7(4): 230–7PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Vernon MW, Sorkin EM. Piracetam — an overview of its pharmacologic properties and a review of its therapeutic use in senile cognitive disorders. Drugs Aging 1991; 1(1): 17–35PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Croisile B, Trillet M, Fondarai J, et al. Long-term and high-dose piracetam treatment of Alzehimer’s disease. Neurology 1993; 43: 301–5PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Brown P, Steiger MJ, Thompson PD, et al. Effectiveness of piracetam in cortical myoclonus. Mov Disord 1993; 8(1): 63–8PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Aantaa E, Meurman OH. The effect of piracetam (Nootropil 6215) upon the late symptoms of patients with head injuries. J Int Med Res 1975; 3(5): 352–5Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hakkarainen H, Hakamies L. Piracetam in the treatment of postconcussional syndrome. A double-blind study. Eur Neurol 1978; 17: 50–5PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Oosterveld WJ. The efficacy of piracetam in vertigo. A double-blind study in patients with vertigo of central origin. Arzneimittel Forschung 1980; 30(II), 11: 1947–9PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Haguenauer JP. Essai clinique du piracetam dans le traitement des vertiges. Etude contrôlée versus placebo. Les Cahiers de l’Oto-Rhino-Laryngologie 1988; 21(6): 460–6Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Norré ME. Dysfunction and cerebral adaptation. In: Posture in otoneurology. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Belg 1990; 44(2) II: 139–81Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Salliez AC, Delaere A. ADR profile of piracetam. Post-marketing surveillance. Review of data collected through spontaneous reporting till end December 1994. UCB Pharma: 1995. Report No: ARVE95D1901Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Norré ME. Aged persons: geriatric problems. In: Posture in otoneurology. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Belg 1990; 44(2) IV: 309–20Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Delaere A, Salliez AC. Safety profile of piracetam in double-blind studies. UCB Pharma: 1994, June. Report No: ARVE94FZ312Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Moriau M, Crasborn L, Lavenne-Pardonge E, et al. Platelet anti-aggregant and rhéologic properties of piracetam. A pharmacodynamic study in normal subjects. Arzneimittel Forschung 1993; 43(1): 110–8PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Adis International Limited 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • U. Rosenhall
    • 1
  • W. Deberdt
    • 2
  • U. Friberg
    • 3
  • A. Kerr
    • 4
  • W. Oosterveld
    • 5
  1. 1.Audiology DepartmentKarolinska HospitalStockholmSweden
  2. 2.International DevelopmentUCB PharmaBraine-l’AlleudBelgium
  3. 3.ENT DepartmentUniversity HospitalUppsalaSweden
  4. 4.Royal Victoria HospitalBelfastNorthern Ireland
  5. 5.ENT DepartmentUniversity Medical CentreAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations