L’impiego della nimodipina in otorinolaringologia: Dalle esperienze del passato verso nuove prospettive farmaco-terapeutiche

Translated title of the contribution: Nimodipine in otolaryngology: From past evidence to clinical perspectives

Daniele Monzani, E. Genovese, L. A. Pini, F. di Berardino, M. Alicandri Ciufeli, G. M. Galeazzi, L. Presutti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


As L-type voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) control Ca2+ influx and depolarisation of cardiac and vascular smooth muscle, they represent a specific therapeutic target for calcium channel blockers (CCBs), which are approved and widely used to treat hypertension, myocardial ischaemia and arrhythmias. L-type currents also play a role in calcium entry in the sensory cells of the inner ear. In hair cells of both cochlea and labyrinth, calcium cytoplasmic influx is the first physiological process that activates complex intracellular enzymatic reactions resulting in neurotransmitter release. Excessive calcium ion entry into sensory cells, as a consequence of L-VGCCs malfunction is responsible for over-activation of phospholipase A2 and C, protein kinase II and C, nitric oxide synthase and both endonucleases and depolymerases, which can cause membrane damage and cellular death if the cytoplasmic buffering capacity is overcome. Nimodipine, a highly lipophilic 1-4 dihydropyridine that easily crosses the brain-blood barrier, is generally used to reduce the severity of neurological deficits resulting from vasospasm in patients with subarachnoid haemorrhage. Moreover, due to its selective blocking activity on L-channel calcium currents, nimodipine is also suggested to be an effective countermeasure for cochlear and vestibular dysfunctions known as channelopathies. Indeed, experimental data in amphibians and mammalians indicate that nimodipine has a stronger efficacy than other CCBs (aminopyridine, nifedipine) on voltage-dependent wholecell currents within hair cells at rest and it is the only agent that is also effective during their mechanically induced depolarisation. In humans, the efficacy of nimodipine is documented in the medical management of peripheral vestibular vertigo, sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus, even in a pathology as complex as Ménière’s disease. Nimodipine is also considered useful in the prophylaxis of damage to the facial and cochlear nerves caused by ablative surgery of cerebellopontine tumours; it has been recently hypothesised to accelerate functional recovery of recurrent nerve lesions during thyroid cancer surgery. Further trials with adequate study design are needed to test the efficacy of nimodipine in the treatment of vertigo due to cerebrovascular disease and vestibular migraine.

Translated title of the contributionNimodipine in otolaryngology: From past evidence to clinical perspectives
Original languageItalian
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalActa Otorhinolaryngologica Italica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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