Pharmacotherapy of cerebellar and vestibular disorders : Current Opinion in Neurology

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NEURO-OTOLOGY: Edited by Kristen K. Steenerson and Terry D. Fife

Pharmacotherapy of cerebellar and vestibular disorders

Lemos, Joãoa; Manto, Mariob

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Current Opinion in Neurology 35(1):p 118-125, February 2022. | DOI: 10.1097/WCO.0000000000001015


Purpose of review 

Major therapeutic advances have been made in patients with episodic and progressive cerebellar ataxias, downbeat nystagmus and some vestibular disorders. We provide an update review on this subject highlighting important research findings from the last two years.

Recent findings 

Recently, the use of omaveloxolone for 2 years significantly improved upright stability in Friedreich's ataxia patients. In an open-label study, N-acetyl-l-leucine administered for 6-weeks significantly improved clinical impression of change, ataxia, and quality of life in patients with Niemann-Pick disease type C1. A 12-week treatment with dalfampridine was associated with improved standing balance in a subgroup of patients with multiple sclerosis. A gluten-free diet alone improved ataxia in half of patients with antiglutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) ataxia, suggesting that gluten sensitivity might be part of the underlying pathogenesis in anti-GAD ataxia. In a head-to-head trial, both prolonged-release 4-aminopyridine (4-AP) and acetazolamide effectively reduced the attacks up to 60% in patients with episodic ataxia type 2 (EA2), albeit 4-AP had fewer adverse effects. Small observational studies have shown that patients with episodic vestibular syndrome who cannot be diagnosed as definite or probable vestibular migraine, might still improve vestibular symptoms following preventive treatment for migraine. The use of vitamin D supplementation in benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, steroids in acute unilateral vestibulopathy, and betahistine in Ménière's disease patients remains controversial.


Although the use of several therapies is being established in the treatment of cerebellar and vestibular disorders, there is an urgent need for prospective controlled therapeutic trials.

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