Right up there with headaches and back pain, as the first two reasons which people seek medical attention. Invariably the standard medical treatment approach for vertigo and dizziness is to prescribe meclizine, (Antivert), a vestibular suppressant drug, which doesn’t work. Here is why. 50% of patients complaining of dizziness in a primary care setting do not get a diagnosis, yet 70% receive a prescription for meclizine. The drug, essentially a CNS depressant, slows things down. In addition to causing lethargy, the drug’s tendency is to produce a slowing effect on reaction time equal to a blood alcohol level of .04 to .06%. This reduced reaction time is a leading cause of falls in the elderly. Falls, especially in the elderly cause hip fractures, shoulder fractures, strokes, etc. Nearly 50% of elderly patients admitted for hip fractures become chronic patients. Nearly 50% of elderly patients admitted for hip fractures die within one year. If all of this isn’t enough, meclizine is known to hinder the natural vestibular compensation process, meaning not only doesn’t it help; it actually retards the natural recovery process. So why then is this drug so routinely prescribed inappropriately? Well, I wish that I could answer that question, but I can’t. But I can tell you that it will not work and could actually lead to a fall, and the older you are, the more likely this becomes. The real irony here is that most causes of vertigo and dizziness are actually very easily treated. But the problem is that if your doctor has no training in treating them appropriately, or doesn’t refer you to someone trained to treat them appropriately, you’ll get the prescription for Meclizine instead. It is at this time that you must realize that there are better options available to you, and that as it is your body, you are entitled to a second or even third opinion. Actually, most of my patients have been to as many as 6 doctors prior to coming to see me. And it is for this reason that I write these articles, to let people know that there are better options.