A drug to treat stroke showed efficacy in treating middle-ear infections by suppressing mucus overproduction, improving bacterial clearance, and reducing hearing loss, researchers from the Georgia State University and University of Rochester reported. Findings from the study are published in the Journal of Immunology.
Vinpocetine, an alkaloid extracted from the periwinkle plant, has long been used to treat neurological disorders such as stroke. Marketed under the brand name Cavinton, it is used as a stroke treatment in most countries (not in the U.S.) and as a dietary supplement across the world. In the study, topical vinpocetine resulted in suppression of inflammation and mucus induced by Streptococcus pneumonia. This resulted in improved hearing loss in the middle ear and significantly improved bacterial clearance in animal studies.
Researchers note that the study findings may lead to the important development of a novel, non-antibiotic therapy for otitis media especially in countries where surgery is not readily accessible. Currently, there are no effective non-antibiotic treatment for otitis media; improper antibiotic use has also contributed to increased antibiotic resistance.
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