What is the role of N -methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) in the treatment of tinnitus?

Updated: Feb 27, 2020
  • Author: Aaron G Benson, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Answer

Answer

Drugs that increase synaptic inhibition, such as benzodiazepines and GABA-B receptor agonists, have been one avenue of investigation for potential new treatments for tinnitus. However, the mechanisms underlying the neuronal hyperactivity associated with tinnitus are not entirely understood, and drugs that block excitatory synaptic neurotransmission may also be effective. For example, some evidence suggests that salicylate-induced tinnitus may involve an increase in glutamatergic neurotransmission at the N -methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) subtype of glutamate receptor in the cochlea and that NMDA receptor antagonists can block this effect. Moreover, long-term tinnitus induced by acoustic trauma was prevented by locally applying another NMDA receptor, polyamine site, antagonist, ifenprodil, into the cochlea within the first 4 days after the acoustic trauma. [21]


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