How is motion sickness treated?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Motion sickness happens when two motion sensors in our body disagree with each other. Learn how to treat motion sickness in this video by Dr. Oz.

A number of effective treatments for motion sickness are available by prescription. Your healthcare provider can help you determine which medication is right for you.

The scopolamine patch provides long-term relief of motion sickness, which is especially helpful during extended travel, such as cruises. The patch is typically placed on clean, dry skin behind the ear, where it provides relief for dizziness, nausea and vomiting for up to three days. Wash your hands thoroughly after applying the patch and avoid contact with your eyes; scopolamine may cause temporary blurred vision if it comes in contact with the eyes.

Side effects of scopolamine may include dry mouth, constipation, confusion, dizziness, rash and difficulty urinating. You should not take scopolamine if you have a history of heart, liver or kidney disease, glaucoma, difficulty urinating due to an enlarged prostate, breathing difficulties or are pregnant or breast feeding. Alcohol, tranquilizers and other sedatives may increase drowsiness with this medication. Scopolamine is available in tablet form as well.

Antiemetics are medications used to control nausea and vomiting. They can be administered through oral tablets, liquids or rectal suppositories. Granisetron, promethazine and prochlorperazine are a few examples of antiemetics. Side effects of these medications may include drowsiness, dry mouth, fatigue and confusion. You should tell your healthcare provider about medical conditions you have and other medications you may be taking before taking an antiemetic.

Sedatives are medications that may decrease fear and anxiety, two emotions that can exacerbate motion sickness. Sedatives slow the body down and induce feelings of calm. Some examples of sedatives include diazepam, alprazolam, clonazepam and lorazepam. These medications may make you very drowsy and decrease alertness. You should avoid alcohol and other depressants while taking sedatives. Also, caution should be used with sedatives because they can be habit-forming.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.