This is topic Tinnitus caused by zith or herx? in forum Medical Questions at LymeNet Flash.

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Posted by Hope75 (Member # 23611) on :
I'm so scared of this tinnitus being a permanent side effect of one of my meds, omnicef, rifampin or zithromax.

Do any of these meds tend to cause ringing more than the other. I forgot Flagyl, which I only take once a week and just took yesterday.

My tinnitus has been terrible on my 2.5 week regimen of the first three abx I mentioned. I can't handle it. I must stop the med that is doing this to me.

I read Keebler's posts and links. Good info.
Posted by TF (Member # 14183) on :
This is from the Mayo Clinic website, on tinnitus:

Medications that can cause tinnitus
A number of medications may cause or worsen tinnitus. Generally, the higher the dose of medication you take, the worse tinnitus becomes. Often the unwanted noise disappears when you stop using these drugs. Medications known to cause or worsen tinnitus include:

■Antibiotics, including chloramphenicol, erythromycin, tetracycline, vancomycin and bleomycin.
■Cancer medications, including mechlorethamine and vincristine.
■Diuretics -- water pills -- such as bumetanide, ethacrynic acid, furosemide.
■Quinine medications used for malaria or other health conditions.
■Chloroquine, a malaria medication.
■Aspirin taken in uncommonly high doses (12 or more per day) may cause tinnitus.

Here's another website that may give you some clues:

In my search, I did not see that the meds you are taking have the side effect of tinnitus.

Did you have tinnitus before the 2.5 weeks? If so, then if the meds simply increased the tinnitus, it sounds like a herx reaction.
Posted by street129 (Member # 23472) on :
doxy also cause ear ringing i have it, but i got it before meds, i got it this year i had flu like and i wake up one morning and it stared to ring and its still ringing.... when i eat or take meds it gets fast and loud, real loud...
Posted by peacemama (Member # 17666) on :
I haven't been on western abx since June of this year, but on the Cowden protocal, I know get tinnitus as part of a herx.

It comes and goes.

Does yours come and go? Sometimes it is awful and constant. And then, it vanishes, just like the herx.

My sound sensitivity gets really bad with it as well.
Posted by Rumigirl (Member # 15091) on :
Zithromax can cause this. Supposedly it goes away when you stop it, but for me it hasn't. I took it for several months, and had the much increased tinnitus for 6 weeks or more while still on it. It hasn't improved over several months off it. Talk to your LLMD ASAP. I should have spoken with mine sooner. I didn't realize for quite a while that it could be connected. Mine is REALLY loud and constant.
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
I'm not here much anymore but check from time to time for posts for ear stuff. Sorry to hear about this. All this below can be scary but, remember, that many lyme patients have had the same experience. Most do better with some changes.

I would stop the zithromax today and call your LLMD on Monday morning for advice. All below is from personal experience and reading. Your LLMD is the key here and should, hopefully, have some great advice.

First, take note of past noise exposures. The tinnitus could be a sign that hearing damage is just catching up and the zith just triggered it. Most likely, if you can stop the zith, you might be able to have the tinnitus lower over time.

However, if you have had past exposure to loud noise, this may be about more than the zith. (I'll assume that neither smoking nor alcohol are part of your life but, if so, either would contribute detrimentally and increase ear damage many fold.)

Remember, too, to protect your ears. Experts are firm in this: NO headphones (unless VERY low volume) . . . but especially, NO use of "ear buds" when on abx. of any kind. The sound/pulse is just too close to the auditory nerve and can damage without one being aware.

No loud concerts, etc. Wear ear plugs even with a hairdryer or vacuum, etc. ALWAYS! Ears are more susceptible to damage at lower decibel levels with on abx.

If from a medicine, bearing with constant tinnitus is counterproductive and it can become permanent and also contribute to other hearing damage. In a few cases, zith has even caused deafness, sometimes reversible - but sometimes permanent. So, it is important to note off the charts tinnitus as a warning sign that action must be taken.

Tinnitus can even cause adrenal fatigue/stress -and even heart stress/damage, as it increases stress hormones that damage the heart. If tinnitus becomes unbearable, it is not good to stay with whatever might be contributing to that. HIgh levels of cortisol are very caustic to the lining of the arteries around the heart. Do everything you can to lower the stress effects on your body.

Zithromax is clearly the drug that is most suspect and that has a known history of being ototoxic, even in low dose. Some people do okay but if someone does not, it is vital to change meds so as to help avoid the possibility of damage.

Tinnitus is a sign of damage but it also can indicate that the liver is not working well enough and that some kind of porphyria is involved.

Check your liver support. NAC should be tops, with milk thistle.

Without liver support, ear damage will occur for sure. Even with liver support, you may need to find an alternate Rx for zith. Take note that, again, some pts. do fine with minocycline, for many mino can also cause tinnitus and vertigo. B-6 and NAC helps there if it's a minor annoyance.

In addition to liver support, adrenal support is vital, too.

Attention to lowering the heightened NMDA brain receptors matters greatly. Magnesium levels should be up to 1, 000 - 2,000 mg a DAY - up to bowel tolerance. Calcuim, too.

FISH OIL (OmegaBrite).

Curcumin is esssential, too, for getting inflammation down and for help to calm the stress hormones. In the meantime, use about 1 tsp. of turmeric from your spice jar. Mix in water and chase with clear water.

Tinnitus is a very serious thing. However, lyme also causes tinnitus so it is important to address the infection adequately and for long enough. There are many ways to do this.

Same thing for hyperacusis (sensitivity to sound). All of the things above should also help with that.

I will also mention that the only thing that has helped to bring tinnitus down to even managable levels - in addition to all above - is ANDROGRAPHIS. It's explained in Buhner's book, "Healing Lyme"

It is the only thing I can afford now (other than fish oil and curcumin). Read all about it first, it can increase tiredness but it really helps reduce inflammation and calms the nervous system.

My hands are so bad I just can't type more. I hope you find relief soon. Be sure to avoid all MSG (google for all its names) and avoid ALL artificitial swntrs. GET REST. EArs need rest, too.

If you can, full body massage and WARM bath (NOT hot) can help the body move out toxins. The better your body is at that, the less the tinnitus should be.

Heavy metals should also be addresses as they can cause tinnitus. The threads on KPU and porphyria also address heavy metals.

You can search here for both threads on Zithromax and on Andrographis - and threads on KPU and on Porphyria:


[ 12-20-2009, 12:37 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]
Posted by Keebler (Member # 12673) on :
Another note regarding the liver and brain inflammation. If you have gas heat or gas stove, be sure to air out your home every day, especially windows on upper levels. It's not the gas but the rotten egg smelling stuff they put with that can stress the liver and the nervous tissue.

For a gas stove top, just before turning on, turn the exhaust fan on high. One lighted, you can turn the fan off but, again, right before putting out the flame, turn the exhaust fan on high again until flame is extinguished.

Liver support mentioned above is described in detail here:;f=1;t=065801

Topic: TINNITUS: Ringing Between The Ears; Vestibular, Balance, Hearing with compiled links




Of interest, regarding magnesium:

Topic: How did they CURE lyme in Romania

Posted by Hopeful2010 (Member # 22958) on :
I would say it's the Zith. If you are taking a toxic dose it will cause ringing. If you cut back to a non-toxic dose it should go away.
Posted by Lymetoo (Member # 743) on :
Originally posted by Hopeful2010:
[QB] I would say it's the Zith.

Me too. Hope you figure it out!

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