You can take prescription and over-the-counter medication to treat dizziness, but it’s important to know what’s causing it. You may need a doctor’s exam and guidance to find the most effective treatment.
Dizziness is a symptom that can appear with a wide range of conditions. How this symptom — a feeling of lightheadedness or imbalance — is treated depends on the underlying cause, how often it happens, and how severe your dizziness becomes.
This article will review some potential causes of dizziness and the options that are available for treatment.
Dizziness is a symptom that can appear in all sorts of illnesses and conditions. It can make you feel off-balance and light-headed. Vertigo is a similar symptom in which you feel as if your surroundings are spinning.
Distinguishing between these two symptoms can be challenging and so can pinpointing an underlying cause.
Figuring out the cause or trigger of your dizziness is the key to treating dizziness.
To figure out how to treat your dizziness, you may have to first figure out why it happened. Some of the top causes of dizziness include conditions and changes such as:
- low blood sugar
- an abrupt change in body position
- low blood pressure
- heart difficulties
- vestibular neuritis
- medication side effects
Although dizziness as a symptom may feel similar across these conditions, how to treat it isn’t the same from one cause to the next.
The best medication to treat your dizziness is one that targets the underlying cause or trigger.
For example, if your dizziness is caused by low blood sugar, eating a snack may be enough to relieve your dizziness. If you’re dehydrated, you’ll usually feel better once you drink some water.
Conditions such as heart difficulties and blood pressure fluctuations can be more difficult to diagnose, manage, and treat. A medication to treat dizziness caused by an abnormal heart rhythm won’t do much, for example, for the pressure that occurs with sudden changes in body position, such as standing up too quickly.
Likewise, treating anemia may fix dizziness in one person, but, for someone else, stopping a medication that causes dizziness could be the answer.
Many medications that are used to treat general forms of chronic dizziness require a prescription from a doctor. To get this prescription, a healthcare team will need to do testing and make an official diagnosis.
The prescription medication you’re given will depend on the diagnosis.
Labyrinthitis and other conditions that cause swelling or fluid collection in the ear can disrupt your sense of balance and are among the leading causes of general dizziness. These difficulties are often caused by conditions, such as infections and congestion, and are treated with medications such as:
- nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce inflammation
- antihistamines and steroids to reduce your immune or inflammatory response
- anticholinergics that reduce sweating and other nervous system functions
- antiemetics to treat nausea or vomiting
- benzodiazepines to induce calmness
Another medication that may be prescribed for dizziness due to neurological issues is
There are also some over-the-counter options for treating dizziness and vertigo that don’t require a prescription. One example is dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), a medication often used to treat vertigo and motion sickness.
Any medication — whether it’s a prescription or over-the-counter medication — has the potential to cause side effects.
Medications that have a calming effect such as antihistamines, benzodiazepines, and olanzapine have the potential to make you feel drowsy or have low blood pressure. Antihistamines and anticholinergics can also cause dry eyes or mouth.
Make sure to talk with a healthcare team about any medications — whether prescription or over-the-counter — that you’re taking. These medications can also interact with the medications you may take for dizziness and increase your risk of experiencing side effects.
You may also want to talk with a doctor about any side effects you’re experiencing before stopping or changing any prescription medications for dizziness. Some of these medications need to be started and stopped gradually, and abruptly stopping a medication could increase your dizziness and also cause extra difficulties.
There isn’t a natural, at-home treatment for every form of dizziness. If you’re experiencing dizziness because of body positioning, diet, or hydration, you can try methods such as:
- making gradual movements
- laying down when you’re dizzy
- making slow movements with your head
- moving from sitting to standing slowly
- drinking extra water
- maintaining a steady blood glucose level
- trying relaxation or meditation
If you experience dizziness only once in a while, these natural remedies usually work best because the dizziness may be caused by fleeting issues such as dehydration or low blood sugar levels.
If you’re experiencing dizziness frequently or have ruled out any of these difficulties that can be solved holistically, be sure to talk with a healthcare team about additional testing and diagnosis.
Dizziness is a symptom that can appear along with all kinds of conditions, so there are many treatment options. Finding out what’s triggering your dizziness is key to effective treatment, and you may need to undergo testing and an exam with a healthcare professional to get these answers.
There are prescription and over-the-counter medications that can help treat dizziness and vertigo, but natural remedies can also help in some circumstances. Call 911 or local emergency services to seek emergency care immediately if you become dizzy to the point that you lose consciousness or faint.