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A Study on the Adverse Effects of Gentamicin

Posted by Cynthia Ryan

Gentamicin and other aminoglycosides can cause permanent vestibular damage. This study - conducted by the family member of a vestibular patient - aims to evaluate the day to day limitations reported by people who have had adverse effects from these drugs.

Aminoglycosides are a class of drugs that are particularly potent against gram-negative bacteria, but are known to have toxic effects on some patients. This class of drugs includes gentamicin, tobramycin, neomycin, streptomycin, amikacin, kanamycin, netilmicin, and paromomycin. The medication may be given orally, as eardrops, topically, intravenously or intramuscularly. This class of medications are effective against other types of bacteria, but because of the potential toxic effects of these drugs, they are usually reserved for specific types of infections.

People who have been damaged by aminoglycosides, particularly gentamicin, often experience a multitude of symptoms, have difficulty being diagnosed, and must learn to adapt to permanent damage and resultant limitations. It is well known that these drugs have the potential to cause hearing loss, vestibular damage affecting balance, vision problems, kidney damage (nephrotoxicity), and some research exists documenting problems with thinking (cognitive impairment). Of course, a person suffering from any health problem may also experience emotional struggles as they learn to adapt to permanent limitations.

The purpose of this study is to explore the day to day limitations reported by people who have had an adverse effect from gentamicin and other drugs in the aminoglycoside family. It incorporates questions from the World Health Organization’s Disability Schedule, along with a list of general impairments and limitations that have been developed by an online group of patients who reported their day to day struggles living without a sense of balance. Many vestibular researchers focus on dizziness or vertigo which is not always present with patients damaged by aminoglycosides. When the vestibular system is damaged, people can lose a sense of where their body is in space, which is known as proprioception. When other senses are impaired, such as in the dark, a person without a fully functioning vestibular system may fall. If you have been adversely affected by aminoglycosides and would like to participate, please click on the link below.

Participate in the research survey.

Principal Investigator: 

Name: Ann M. Kerlin, PhD

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Address: 3038 Evans Mill Road, Lithonia, GA 30038

Phone: 770-484-1204 ext. 5688

E-mail: [email protected]

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