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There's a promising drug to treat Tinnitus: the acamprosate calcium, also known as "Campral".


Here are the 2 press releases about this new product. Both can be found on the Action For Tinnitus Research website:




How GABA works in the part of the brain that deals with hearing

Latest News from our Researchers at Leicester

Action for Tinnitus Research (ATR) recently reported on a promising new drug that could treat tinnitus. Researchers at the University of Leicester and Leicester Royal Infirmary spoke to us about how effective drugs such as Campral could be in treating tinnitus. 

They told us: "We know there is some evidence that Campral may exert some of its action at specific sites in the brain neuronal cells known as the GABA receptors. GABA is a molecule that the brain uses itself that enables the cells to communicate with one another and send millions of messages throughout the brain’"

They described how GABA works in the part of the brain that deals with hearing - referred to by hearing specialists as the auditory pathway. GABA was first discovered in the 1950s, and since then scientists have realised how incredibly important it is to how our brain works. 

"Generally, GABA acts to reduce activity in the nerve cells including the auditory pathway. These include some of the messages dealing with our hearing. If the binding of GABA is disturbed or it is not produced in sufficient amounts then it is possible that tinnitus might result."

They explained how there was an increasing body of supporting evidence that show how GABA and its receptors can act in mediating at least some types of tinnitus.

"Work by a number of researchers in the US is providing us with insights into the possible role of drugs that act at the GABA receptor in reducing tinnitus. Some studies have used a drug that acts like GABA to make up for its absence. They have also tried this in combination with another well known group of drugs known as the benzodiazepines."

The researchers at Leicester told us that the benzodiazepines can act to enhance the activity of GABA.  They also described the evidence from brain scans that these drugs seem to produce changes in those regions of the brain thought to be involved in either generating or possibly handling the response of the patient to tinnitus.

They outlined how future studies could build on this knowledge: 

"This work contributes to an increased understanding of how tinnitus may be treated, at least in some tinnitus patients.  We know that it is important to replicate these findings and to carefully monitor patients in the longer term. We would also like to focus on how the drugs actually exert their effect and to what extent they are reducing the tinnitus and the anxiety or annoyance that the tinnitus itself can generate".

In response to this, Action for Tinnitus Research has launched an urgent appeal to raise funds to investigate Campral and other related drugs.  

Please support our appeal today


Goldstein B, Shulman A (2003). Tinnitus Outcome Profile and Tinnitus Control. Int. Tinnitus Journal. 9, 26-31.

Shulman A, Strashun A. Goldstein B (2002). GABAA  - Benzodiazepine - Chloride Receptor - Targeted Therapy for Tinnitus Control: Preliminary Report. Int. Tinnitus Journal. 8, 30-36.

Daftary A , Shulman A,. Strashun A et al., (2004), Benzodiazepine Receptor Distribution in Severe Intractable Tinnitus. Int. Tinnitus Journal. 10, 17-23.



A Breakthrough? - New drug holds promise in quieting tinnitus

Research scientists supported by Action for Tinnitus Research are keen to investigate a promising new drug for tinnitus sufferers. The drug known as ‘Campral’ (or Acamprosate), originally developed by the French company Merck-Lipha, was reported on at the latest Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Otolaryngology ‡, held in Los Angeles this September.

Campral (acamprosate calcium), a drug used to help alcoholics stay dry, was tested in a 50-patient tinnitus study by researchers in Brazil. Half of the tinnitus patients received the drug - the other half received a placebo. After three months, 83% of those who took the drug reported some degree of tinnitus improvement, including 13% who said their tinnitus disappeared.

However, there are weaknesses in the study. Experts and our own research scientists are advising caution in accepting these results just yet – due to the small sample size of the study. More studies are needed to determine the drug's true effectiveness.

Mr Peter Rea, otologist and lead clinician at the Leicester Royal Infirmary Hearing and Balance Centre, attended the US conference. He is is also part of the research group at Leicester supported by ATR currently engaged in understanding how tinnitus may arise in patients after damage to the inner ear. He told us "This is an interesting first report of the use of Campral for treating tinnitus and provides grounds for cautious optimism". He added "We need to see if we can replicate these findings in a larger group of carefully screened patients here in the UK . We would want to follow up these patients for a longer time period to see if their tinnitus was consistently reduced and to monitor incidence of any side effects."

Mr Rea explained that "Campral has a similar structure to a group of very important molecules we call neurotransmitters. These enable the nerve cells in our brain to communicate with each other. Campral resembles a neurotransmitter we call GABA. In this case it may be acting by binding at the receptor sites for GABA in the brain". He explained "Actions by Campral at these sites on nerve cells in the brain may be acting to reduce excessive nerve cell activity in that in turn is directly responsible for tinnitus. Alternatively it may be acting to reduce the awareness of the tinnitus by the patient".

Action for Tinnitus Research is calling for a dedicated research programme in the UK to investigate Campral and other drugs further and to validate their long-term effectiveness in treating tinnitus. This concerted global approach to research will offer new hope for the millions of tinnitus sufferers worldwide.

With acknowledgement to the American Tinnitus Association - "In the News"

‡ The 109th Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO of the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery Foundation in Los Angeles, Sept. 25-28, 2005

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