Dizziness & Vertigo

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.

Usually, these 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®). Consult your healthcare team if dizziness or vertigo becomes bothersome or lasts a long time; in severe cases, a short course of corticosteroids may be prescribed.

Other conditions that may cause dizziness include middle ear inflammation and benign tumors of the acoustic nerve that connects the ear and the brain.

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