Manchester hospitals hope to reduce horrific symptoms of tinnitus with drug trial

A new drug that could help reduce the horrific symptoms of tinnitus is set to run further trials at two Greater Manchester hospitals.

Salford Royal Hospital and Wrightington Hospital in Wigan will be running the QUIET-1 study, comparing the effect of the new AUT00063 drug to a placebo (dummy drug) after four weeks of treatment.

Tinnitus is the perception of a noise being heard in the head and/or ears and is commonly explained as a ringing sound, but can be all sorts of noises at different levels.

Manchester resident Campbell Robertson, 73, has suffered from the condition for six years and only found out he had the condition, which he was unaware existed, after being diagnosed by a doctor.

“Some sufferers still don’t know what it is and assume it is normal,” he said.

“GP’s don’t like it because there’s nothing at the moment that can be done in terms of prescriptions or consultations – there’s no cure.”

“I know people who have got it much worse than mine – people who have noises like using an electric drill that goes on and on.

“The ones with the louder noises suffer most, it is certainly something that has driven people to suicide in the past.”

Approximately 10% of the UK adult population have or experience tinnitus – equating to around 6.3 million people in the UK – which is commonly caused by working in noisy working environments.

AUT00063 has completed an initial “Phase I” safety trial and was well tolerated in young and older healthy volunteers with no serious adverse effects being noted.

The drug is an orally active preparation that will be taken as 4 capsules once daily with food, for a period of 4 weeks.

Both hospitals are now calling for people over 18 years old who have had continual tinnitus for more than 6 months but less than 18 months to take part in the clinical study.

Earlier this week, the British Tinnitus Association told MM that people should change their ‘flippant’ attitudes towards the incurable condition, which can lead to sleeplessness, distress and even suicide.

“Tinnitus is perhaps not taken seriously by those who haven’t experienced it, but that may be because they don’t know what it is and what it’s like to have it,” said projects manager Emily Broomhead.

“Sometimes people are quite flippant with health issues until they actually go through it – thinking it won’t happen to them – but tinnitus is so common in all age ranges.

“It’s vital that more people are made aware of the damage that can be caused by just listening to music too loudly or by not protecting their ears when they are using noisy equipment.”

The QUIET-1 study will be conducted at a number of sites in the UK and more information on the study can be found by clicking here.

Image courtesy of San Der Van, with thanks.

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