Quinine, a cinchona bark-derived antimalarial alkaloid, is a known ototoxic. Isolated and named in 1820 by the French scientists Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph-Bienaimé Caventou, it has since been employed in the treatment of different maladies. Quinine was also recommended as a local anesthetic in surgical procedures in the early 20th century. This article aims to identify early ototoxicity reports regarding quinine and to investigate if quinine was previously used in otology as an anesthetic agent or as an actual therapy.
Historical review of medical and pharmaceutical literature from the 19th and 20th centuries in databases (PubMed; Web of Science), as well as medical books on ototoxic drugs, quinine, and therapies in otology.
The first identified reference of quinine ototoxicity was from 1824. Quinine also had a therapeutic role in otology and neurotology and was employed for its analgesic properties. It was used in Menière's disease, vertigo, otalgia, purulent otitis media, neuralgia of the plexus tympani, furuncles in the auditory canal, and herpes zoster in the auricle.
Quinine was acknowledged as an ototoxic drug in the 19th century. Quinine was used in several otologic disorders, both as an analgesic (for herpes zoster, otalgia) and as a therapeutic agent (Menière's disease, vertigo, purulent otitis media, furuncles in the auditory canal). This research demonstrates that, analogously to gentamicin, quinine was used in Menière's disease specifically due to its ototoxic effects.