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Scopolamine


Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
scopolamineTransderm Scop

Scopolamine (Transderm Scop) is a patch placed on the skin behind the ear. The medicine is absorbed from the patch through the skin.

How It Works

The action of scopolamine is not completely understood. It is believed that scopolamine blocks signals from the inner ear to the brain. This reduces motion sickness, nausea, and the urge to vomit.

Why It Is Used

Scopolamine is prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness and vertigo.

How Well It Works

Scopolamine can help prevent vomiting caused by vertigo in most people.

Scopolamine can also decrease symptoms of motion sickness.1

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Callor other emergency services right away if you have:

  • Trouble breathing.
  • Hives.
  • Swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of an overdose, including:
    • Clumsiness, dizziness, or unsteadiness.
    • Severe drowsiness.
    • Fever.
    • Confusion or hallucinations.
    • Slurred speech.
    • Unusual excitement, nervousness, restlessness, or irritability.
    • Fast heartbeat.
    • Unusual warmth, dry skin, or flushing of the skin.

Common side effects of this medicine include:

  • Blurry vision.
  • Constipation.
  • Decreased sweating.
  • Dry mouth, nose, throat, or skin.
  • Sleepiness.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Dry mouth is common with this medicine. To help with dry mouth, you can chew sugarless gum, suck on sugarless candy, or melt ice in your mouth. If you continue to have problems with dry mouth after a couple of weeks, call your doctor. Dry mouth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

It is important to wash your hands with soap and water after placing or removing the patch. Otherwise, you might rub your eyes and get medicine in them, increasing the risk of side effects such as blurry vision.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)Click here to view a form.(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Advice for travelers (2009). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 7(87): 83–94.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerBarrie J. Hurwitz, MD, MD - Neurology
Last RevisedDecember 16, 2010

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

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