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Possible Correlation Between Painkillers And Permanent Hearing Loss

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  • Mark Middle Mountain
    http://www.prosoundweb.com/install/spotlight/hei.shtml Possible Correlation Between Painkillers And Permanent Hearing Loss (Editor s Note: Thanks to our
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 31, 2004
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      Possible Correlation Between Painkillers And Permanent Hearing Loss

      (Editor's Note: Thanks to our friends at the House Ear Institute for
      providing this article.)

      In a retrospective observation conducted at the House Ear Clinic (HEC) in
      Los Angeles, physicians have found a possible correlation between permanent
      hearing loss and a commonly prescribed painkiller medication that combines
      hydrocodone and acetaminophen.

      This combination medication is distributed under various names including the
      brands Vicodin®, Hydrocet®, Lorcet®, Norco® and their generic counterparts.
      Over the past two years HEC physicians have identified as many as 29
      patients with moderate to profound hearing loss possibly resulting from
      extensive use of these painkillers. This unusually high incidence prompted
      the physicians to report their observations of this side effect to the Food
      and Drug Administration (FDA) and to alert consumers.

      "We feel that it is our duty to warn the public that permanent hearing loss
      may result from prolonged or excessive use of painkillers that combine
      hydrocodone and acetaminophen," said John W. House, M.D. "Recent media
      reports indicate that many people are becoming dependent on medications
      originally prescribed to treat temporary or chronic pain and we feel that
      their lives may be further complicated by loss of hearing."

      In April 1999 HEC physicians presented an initial report of the Clinic's
      observations at the American Academy of Otolaryngology Meeting in Palm
      Springs, CA. An update of this report is being prepared for presentation at
      the Triologic meeting in Pasadena, CA in January 2002. Since HEC physicians
      became aware that prolonged painkiller use was a common factor in several
      cases of sudden hearing loss, a more detailed evaluation of similar cases
      possibly involving this type of medication has become a priority.

      The House Ear Clinic is one of the largest medical practices dedicated to
      the diagnosis and treatment of hearing loss and related disorders. This
      enables the eight ear specialists on staff to evaluate a population whose
      disease profiles might not be immediately obvious in general care settings.
      Observation of an HEC patient group who reported extensive painkiller use
      suggests that these medications may cause progressive hearing loss - even
      after cessation of drug use. It also appears that individual susceptibility
      may play a significant role in the incidence of permanent hearing loss as a
      side effect
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