- The application of therapeutic agents to the round window holds great promise in the treatment of inner ear disease. The primary benefit of this route of administration is the ability to achieve high inner ear concentrations of drugs without systemic side effects. Recent research has elucidated the anatomy and physiology of the round window and provided important information on the inner ear pharmacokinetics and the pharmacodynamics of drugs administered intratympanically. Although amino-glycosides and steroids have been most thoroughly studied, many other classes of pharmaceuticals, including otoprotective agents, other antibiotics,and topical anesthetics, have therapeutic potential in the inner ear and will probably be the subject of future studies. The authors believe that direct delivery approaches other than through the round window, perhaps with slow or sustained release formulations, may hold the key to the future treatment of inner ear disorders.