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Motion Sickness (cont.)

Medical Treatment for Motion Sickness

Medications can be used that suppress the conflicting sensory input to the brain or help alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness. A number of different classes of medications have been effective in treating motion sickness (see below). Medications are most effective when taken in anticipation of the involuntary motion; they are less effective for symptom relief after the motion has begun.

Motion Sickness Medications


Antihistamines have been used to treat motions sickness. Notably, the nonsedating antihistamines do not seem to be effective for motion sickness treatment.

Examples of antihistamine medications to treat motion sickness include:

Side effects may include significant sedation, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, and confusion and urinary retention in the elderly.


Scopolamine (Transderm-Scop) is the most well-known medication in this category. It has been shown in clinical trials to be effective at preventing motion sickness. Scopolamine is most commonly administered as a patch applied to the skin. Side effects are the same as those of the antihistamines (sedation, blurred vision, dry mouth, and confusion and urinary retention in the elderly). Persons at risk for angle-closure glaucoma should not take scopolamine.


Two drugs in this category that have been successfully used in the management of motion sickness include promethazine (Phenergan, Pentazine) and metoclopramide (Reglan). Both of these medications can also cause significant sedation and in a few people, movement disorders (for example, torticollis or twisting of the neck, tongue protrusion).

Other Motion Sickness Medications

Ephedrine and some amphetamines have been used both to treat motion sickness and to counteract the sedating effects of other medical treatments. Studies have also shown a beneficial effect of caffeine when administered in combination with other medications for motion sickness.

Benzodiazepines have also been useful for some people with motion sickness. Examples include:

Antiemetic (anti-nausea) medications have been used to control nausea and vomiting after motion sickness has developed. Examples include:

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/10/2015

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