Dramamine when to take



Generic Name: dimenhydrinate (dye men HYE dri nate)
Brand Name: Dramamine, Driminate, Triptone

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 25, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

  • Overview
  • Side Effects
  • Dosage
  • Interactions
  • Pregnancy
  • More

What is Dramamine?

Dramamine is an antihistamine that reduces the effects of natural chemical histamine in the body.

Dramamine is used to treat or prevent nausea, vomiting, and dizziness associated with motion sickness.

Dramamine may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Dramamine if you are allergic to it.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use Dramamine if you have other medical conditions, especially:

  • liver or kidney disease;

  • enlarged prostate and urination problems;

  • heart disease, high pressure;

  • a history of seizures;

  • blockage in your digestive tract (stomach or intestines);

  • overactive thyroid;

  • glaucoma; or

  • asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or other breathing disorder.

Do not give this medicine to a child younger than 2 years old. Always ask a doctor before giving an antihistamine to a child. Death can occur from the misuse of antihistamines in very young children.

It is not known whether Dramamine will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether dimenhydrinate passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medicine without a doctor’s advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

How should I take Dramamine?

Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

For best results, take Dramamine 30 to 60 minutes before traveling or before any activity that may trigger motion sickness.

You may take Dramamine with or without food.

The chewable tablet must be chewed before you swallow it.

If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time if you have taken Dramamine in the past few days.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Dramamine is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, irritability, dilated pupils, hallucinations, or seizure. In children, an overdose may cause irritability or restlessness followed by severe drowsiness.

What should I avoid while taking Dramamine?

Avoid using a topical (for the skin) medicine that contains an antihistamine called diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl).

Dramamine may cause blurred vision and may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert and able to see clearly.

Drinking alcohol with this medicine can cause side effects.

Dramamine side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Stop using Dramamine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • little or no urination;

  • confusion, mood changes;

  • tremors, restlessness;

  • a seizure (convulsions); or

  • fast or irregular heartbeats.

Side effects such as dry mouth, constipation, and confusion may be more likely in older adults.

Common side effects may include:

  • drowsiness;

  • dry mouth, nose, or throat;

  • constipation;

  • blurred vision; or

  • feeling restless or excited (especially in children).

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Dramamine?

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using Dramamine if you are also using any other drugs, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Some medicines can cause unwanted or dangerous effects when used together. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing can worsen these effects. Ask your doctor before taking Dramamine with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Further information

  • Your pharmacist has more information about Dramamine written for health professionals that you may read.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 4.01.

Related questions

  • Is Dramamine useful to treat nausea or dry heaving?

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More about Dramamine (dimenhydrinate)

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Consumer resources

  • Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate Chewable Tablets)
  • Dramamine (Dimenhydrinate Tablets)

Other brands: Driminate, Travel-Eze, Triptone

Professional resources

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  • … +1 more

Other Formulations

  • Dramamine Less Drowsy
  • Dramamine II

Related treatment guides

  • Motion Sickness
  • Nausea/Vomiting

Dramamine For Dogs: Everything You Need To Know

Any longtime dog owner will know that our furry friends can experience the same sorts of health issues as we can. Whether it’s chronic pain, anxiety, or nausea, dogs are just as likely to struggle as we are. So how do you help your beloved pet in their time of need?

It can be tempting to give them a medication that we use for ourselves when we’re experiencing an issue like this. But should you give your pet medicine that is intended for humans? In general, no, you shouldn’t, at least not before consulting with your animal’s vet.

While some medications are relatively harmless to give to our pets, others (like ibuprofen) can easily lead to serious and life-threatening health problems for your pet.

If your dog has been dealing with nausea or motion sickness, you may want to consider giving them Dramamine, a popular over-the-counter medication for treating motion sickness in humans.

But should you give your animal Dramamine? In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about giving your pet this popular medication, from side effects, risks, dosages, and more.


1. What Is Dramamine?
2. Identifying Motion Sickness In Dogs
3. Treating Travel-Related Anxiety In Dogs Without Dramamine
4. Side Effects Of Dramamine For Dogs
5. Consult With Your Dog’s Vet First
6. Should I Give My Dog Dramamine?
7. How Much Dramamine Can I Give My Dog?
8. Which Formulation Of Dramamine Is Best For Dogs?
9. Can My Dog Overdose On Dramamine?
10. How To Administer Dramamine To Your Dog
11. How To Time Dramamine Dosages
12. How To Give Your Dog A Dramamine Dose
13. How Long To Give Your Dog Dramamine
14. Alternatives To Dramamine For Treating Motion Sickness In Dogs

What Is Dramamine?

It may reduce symptoms of nausea and motion sickness by disrupting the vestibular system in your pet’s ears. This system is responsible for controlling your pet’s (and your) sense of balance and can be thrown out of whack when traveling in a vehicle, which is what leads to motion sickness. Blocking this system out using Dramamine can prevent it from being overstimulated during vehicle trips.

Dogs and humans are both sensitive to having their vestibular system overstimulated, although dogs are slightly less likely to develop motion sickness.

In case you aren’t familiar with Dramamine, it’s an antihistamine and anticholinergic drug used to reduce vomiting and motion sickness. Dramamine is also known by its generic name dimenhydrinate.

Dimenhydrinate is a combination of diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline, which is a mild stimulant similar to caffeine.

Despite the fact that Dramamine is not FDA approved for use in dogs and cats, it is frequently prescribed by vets to pet owners and is believed to have minimal negative side effects. Dramamine is essentially a less potent form of Benadryl and has similar sedative and anxiety-reducing effects on users.

As a result, vets might also prescribe Dramamine for animals that have been diagnosed with anxiety. Animals that are dealing with nausea that isn’t caused by motion sickness can also use Dramamine to alleviate the symptoms of nausea.

Identifying Motion Sickness In Dogs

Whether you and your pet are going to be traveling by car, boat, plane, or train. Dramamine is usually able to help alleviate their anxiety associated with traveling and symptoms of motion sickness.

Sometimes called “travel sickness,” motion sickness occurs when the vestibular system located in your inner ear is over stimulated.

This may lead to symptoms of nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and fatigue. If you notice that your dog has these symptoms during travel, Dramamine is most likely an effective treatment for counteracting these effects.

Symptoms of Motion Sickness In Dogs:

  • Whining
  • Excessive yawning
  • Drooling
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Inactivity or lethargy
  • Dry heaving
  • Trembling, uneasiness, or anxiety
  • Excessive licking
  • Rapid breathing
  • Nervous pacing
  • Fear of getting in a car

Despite the fact that both humans and dogs can develop motion sickness due to overstimulation, it is much, much less common in dogs. In fact, only 95% of dogs develop motion sickness.

Most of the time, the negative reaction that dogs have when traveling is actually related to anxiety. Dogs may become anxious during travel for a variety of reasons.

For one thing, they may just not be used to traveling away from home, and are frightened by the experience. If it is your pet’s first time traveling, this is likely the cause.

If your pet has traveled before, but still experiences anxiety during trips, then it could be a result of traumatic experiences associated with driving. Going to the vet, leaving their previous family/home, or being taken to a shelter can all cause your dog to associate travel with negativity.

Treating Travel-Related Anxiety In Dogs Without Dramamine

While most pet owners will likely be fine with giving their pet Dramamine, some may want a more natural solution. Even though medication may help your dog on a trip in the short-term, it doesn’t solve their long-term issues with travel-related anxiety.

Overcoming these issues with your pet will reduce their reliance on medication, saving you money and your pet from having to take medication for an extended period of time.

1. Crate Training

One of the most effective methods recommended by vets is crate training. Crate training is the process of getting your dog to feel comfortable and safe in their crate while at home. By doing so, when they travel, being in their crate will give them a sense of stability and comfort rather than fear.

You can crate train your pet by filling their crate with their favorite toys, pillows, and blankets so that it’s more like a bed and less like a box. Giving your pet treats for going in their crate and leaving treats hidden in their blankets or pillows can break negative associations they have with the space.

By establishing that their crate is a haven for them, they will feel less stressed when sitting in it during travel.

2. Baby Steps

Dogs, and most animals in general, take a much longer time to adjust to new surroundings than people do. While you may think of your home as your haven from the rest of the world, a lot of times our pets see it as the entire world. Even small changes like going to a new park can cause your dog some anxiety.

By taking small steps towards riding in a vehicle, as opposed to just loading your dog in the back and hitting the road, you can ease your dog into the experience in a less jarring way.

A good first step is getting your dog used to being in the garage. Spending positive time with your pet in the garage, especially if your vehicle is in there, will help them feel less afraid of the car itself.

From there, you can steadily work your way towards short trips around the block, slightly longer drives, and finally to a full-on road trip. It also helps to keep your pet’s meals before a trip light and bland, so that if they do experience any nausea or motion sickness, it will be less likely to lead to vomiting.

3. Take Breaks

While you might be fine to make a long road trip with only a break or two along the way, your pet likely doesn’t have the same kind of stamina. Taking breaks periodically to let them walk, eat, use the bathroom, play, and rest will help keep their anxiety at bay.

Stopping every one to two hours will give your pet a chance to recover from any motion sickness as well. Remember that even if they aren’t making a fuss, they could be in pain or discomfort, and deserve a break just like we do!

Side Effects Of Dramamine For Dogs

The most common side effects are lethargy or sedation, dry mouth, and urine retention. So long as these don’t become extreme, these are relatively harmless side effects (so long as you are not giving your pet Dramamine for an extended period of time).

If you notice these side effects in your dog and are concerned for their well-being, speak to your vet about reducing the dosage of Dramamine or switching to a different form of medication.

It’s important to know the side effects of Dramamine for dogs so that you can adjust dosages and, in a worst-case scenario, stop giving them Dramamine completely.

Every dog is different, and each will have a different tolerance to the medication. Even though it’s believed to be a relatively safe medication for dogs, there are some side effects to be aware of.

More severe side effects could include diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and reduced appetite. These are much rarer and should be taken seriously. Monitor your dog’s behavior, and if you notice any of these more severe side effects, stop administering the Dramamine and speak with your vet about your dog’s health.

Consult With Your Dog’s Vet First

Before giving your pet any new form of medication, you should always consult with your vet first. You never know how an animal is going to react to a new medication, and trying to give your pet an over-the-counter medicine intended for humans without speaking with your vet first can lead to serious consequences.

Not only that, but asking your vet about using Dramamine will help you determine appropriate dosages, consider other aspects of your dog’s health, ask questions about mixing medications, and even discuss alternatives to Dramamine that may be better suited to your pet’s needs.

Should I Give My Dog Dramamine?

The best way to decide if you should give your dog Dramamine is by first checking with your vet and providing them with a list of any other medications that your pet may be on, as well as any health conditions they may have.

For the most part, giving your dog Dramamine in proper dosages shouldn’t be a problem. However, there are some circumstances where you should not give your dog this popular medication.

If your dog is pregnant or nursing, giving them Dramamine could be dangerous for the pups since the medication is likely to be transferred to them. If your dog is a working dog, be aware that they will likely be sedated and lethargic during their normal routines and assignments while taking Dramamine.

Also, if your dog has an antihistamine allergy, Dramamine could be dangerous for them since it’s an antihistamine. Dogs that have health issues like high blood pressure, glaucoma, seizures, intestinal or urinary obstruction, prostate disease, hyperthyroidism, or lung/heart disease should not take Dramamine, as the side effects could be much more substantial.

If your dog has any of the following conditions, giving them Dramamine is not advisable:

  • COPD
  • High blood pressure
  • Gastric outflow, stomach, bladder neck, or urinary obstruction
  • Allergies from antihistamines
  • Kidney, liver, lung, prostate, or heart disease
  • Seizures
  • Hyperthyroidism

So long as your dog doesn’t have any of the listed health issues, they should be safe to take Dramamine under a vet’s direction. Even though it is one of the more common prescriptions that vets give to dogs, you should never give your pets any new form of medication without first speaking to a vet.

How Much Dramamine Can I Give My Dog?

The best way to determine dosage is to speak to your vet since they will be able to take factors into consideration like your pet’s size, age, and health. Dosing isn’t a “one size fits all,” so don’t hesitate to ask your vet for a recommendation.

If you are giving your pet a standard Dramamine tablet, 2-4mg per pound that your dog weighs is generally a safe amount.

If you’re giving it to your dog for travel, wait to administer it until 30 minutes prior to when you’ll actually be leaving. This way it begins to take effect right as you are hitting the road. It’s also recommended that you leave 8 hours between each dose to ensure your pet’s safety.

Which Formulation Of Dramamine Is Best For Dogs?

Dramamine comes in a variety of forms, with one of two active ingredients: dimenhydrinate or meclizine. Standard tablets, chewable tablets, and Dramamine for kids contain dimenhydrinate and should all be fine for dogs to consume with proper dosage.

“All-Day/Less Drowsy” forms of the medication use meclizine since it has less of a sedative effect, and it should be equally safe.

“Non-Drowsy Naturals” tablets are not safe, however, since they contain a high amount of ginger. Ginger is safe for dogs in small amounts, but not in the high concentration that this form of Dramamine contains.

Can My Dog Overdose On Dramamine?

Just like people, your dog can overdose on just about any medication. The most common reason for dogs overdosing on medicine (aside from pet owners not following vet directions) is chewing up the bottle of medication and ingesting it.

Always make sure that you keep the bottle of medication out of your pet’s reach and behind a cabinet door.

Overdosing on Dramamine forms that contain meclizine will usually result in increased sedation or hyperactivity, but extreme amounts could cause your dog to hallucinate, have seizures, urinary retention, or an increased heart rate.

Overdoses on dimenhydrinate may lead to seizures, coma, hypoventilation or death. If you notice any signs of toxicity in your dog, call a vet immediately.

If it is treated fast enough their system may be purged, saving them from any permanent effects to their health.

Always monitor your dog’s condition when giving them any kind of medication. Make sure that you are aware of the side effects of taking the prescription that they are on, watch for signs of a worsening condition, and if you notice that they are exhibiting signs of an overdose, get help as soon as you can. The faster it is taken care of, the better your dog’s chances of recovering.

How To Administer Dramamine To Your Dog

While you probably understand the importance of speaking to your vet first by this point, just to reiterate: For proper instructions on administering Dramamine or any other medication to your dog, speak with your vet first. They can give you the safest and most appropriate advice.

How To Time Dramamine Dosages

If you are timing your dosages correctly, the effects of one Dramamine dose should be wearing off as the effects of a new dose are beginning to take hold.

In general, waiting 8 hours between dosages is the best route to go. If you’re giving your dog Dramamine for a road trip, wait until just 30 minutes before you are about to leave before administering a Dramamine dose.

If you are giving your pet Dramamine over an extended period of time and miss a dosage at a time prescribed by your vet, call them for advice on how to proceed.

How To Give Your Dog A Dramamine Dose

It’s not uncommon for dogs to be reluctant to take medication. There is the fool-proof method of crushing the medication up into a favorite meal or treat for your dog, which will work most of the time. You can also purchase a “pill popper” online or at your local pet store.

These are tube-like devices that hold the pill in one end. You put the tube into their mouth with the end containing the pill near the back of their mouth, and release the pill. This prevents them from being able to spit the pill out and works well for medications that are best left intact.

These are relatively affordable and will come in handy every time your dog needs to take a medication.

How Long To Give Your Dog Dramamine

How long you give your dog doses of Dramamine depends on what your dog is being treated for. If you’re making a road trip and want to keep your friend from being scared/sick along the way, then a one-time dosage is perfectly fine.

If you are treating them for a long-term condition, speak with your vet about the length of administration. They will help you monitor your dog’s health, determine an appropriate time to take your pet off of the medicine and walk you through the process of waning them off the drug.

Alternatives To Dramamine For Treating Motion Sickness In Dogs

While Dramamine can be a great way to treat motion sickness and nausea in dogs, some owners may choose not to give it to their pet. Whether it’s due to an antihistamine allergy, or simply wanting to give your pet something for natural, it’s perfectly reasonable to want an alternative medication for your pet.CBD treats for dogs and CBD oils for pets are an effective and natural way to help manage nausea and motion sickness in your pet. They are cannabid supplements and are extremely safe for most animals.

CBD works by stimulating your ECS system, which is responsible for regulating your dog’s mood, sleep, appetite, and more. It works similarly to vitamin and can reduce nausea quickly and naturally, as well as managing travel-related anxiety.

The Health Risks of Abusing Motion Sickness Drugs

Even motion sickness pills may be abused by a person who enjoys the euphoric effects of high doses. Youth may abuse this drug because it is readily available. Dimenhydrinate, best known as Dramamine, can cause delirium and hallucinations at high dosages. The abuser may be confused and suffer amnesia.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) produces a dreamy, relaxed state when it is abused. It can also product confusion, disorientation, vomiting, loss of coordination and hallucinations.


If too much dimenhydrinate is taken, it can trigger a heart attack or even result in death. The heart may beat too fast and be irregular.

Diphehydramine and ibuprofen, found together in some formulas, increases one’s risk of serious or even fatal heart and blood vessel problems, such as heart attack or stroke.


Dimenhydrinate is associated with interference with kidney function. A reduction in urine output is a signal that kidneys are not functioning properly. If the drug is not discontinued, the kidneys may fail, requiring dialysis or transplant to save a person’s life.


In prescription medications, diphenhydramine is often combined with acetaminophen, a known toxin for the liver. When the drug is abused for the euphoric or hallucinogenic effects, the liver will take the majority of the load of breaking down these drugs. Liver failure is a common result of an overdose of acetaminophen.


The effect of the drugs on the stomach can be to cause stomach ulcers and bleeding.


According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, diphenhydramine can be very unsafe for some people to use if they are going to drive. Their tests show longer reaction time and reduced ability to maintain one’s position in a lane or keep a consistent distance from the car in front. It was concluded that the effects of diphenhydramine can be even worse than the effects of alcohol. This was true even when the drug user did not think he was sleepy or inattentive.

Cough medications help people get some restful sleep, but the two main kinds of cough suppressants are also widely abused – and dangerous.


Everything You Need to Know About Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse

When we think of drug abuse and addiction, we often think or illicit or illegal drugs. But in a May, 2018 article in the FDA Voice blog, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. warned of a new pattern of abuse and misuse of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Over-the-counter drugs are medications that are available without a prescription and are sold at both at drugstores and supermarkets.

These drugs are safe if used at recommended doses and for recommended time periods. But, just as with illegal drugs and prescription drugs, OTC drugs can be abused. Most common forms of OTC drug abuse include taking the medications in higher doses than recommended, taking them for longer than recommended, and mixing them with other medications to create new products. Even though they are less potent (when taken as recommended) than illicit substances, OTC drugs still pose a risk for addiction.

What Are Some of the Most Commonly Misused OTC Drugs?

  • Cough and cold medicines (dextromethorphan or DXM)
  • Pain relievers (acetaminophen and ibuprofen)
  • Nasal decongestants (pseudoephedrine)
  • Motion sickness pills (dimenhydrinate)
  • Anti-diarrheal medication (loperamide)
  • Diet pills (ephedrine)
  • OTC sleep aids/sleeping pills (diphenhydramine)

How Dangerous is the Abuse of OTC Medication?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse/ National Institutes of Health, many commonly abused OTC drugs, including cough medicine, anti-diarrhea drugs, motion sickness pills and diet pills, can cause potentially severe and even life-threatening symptoms.

Unfortunately, because these drugs are available over-the-counter, there is often a false sense of safety assumed about them.

People abuse OTC drugs both for recreational use and also inadvertently, by not carefully following dosage recommendations. But they do so at greater risk than they often imagine.

Cough Medicine Abuse

The ingredient in cough medicines (ex: Robitussin, Coricidin, Dimetapp, TheraFlu. etc.) that makes these medicines a target for abuse is dextromethorphan, or DXM. DXM is a morphine-like substance that has sedative and anesthetic properties and can, in high doses, cause distorted perceptions and a dissociative state (feeling “disconnected” or detached from one’s self), a state that is similar to that resulting from taking the club drug ketamine.

Dangers of cough medicine abuse: Abuse of cough medicines can cause dizziness, nausea/vomiting, breathing and vision problems, seizures, and anxiety/panic symptoms. When cough medicine products made with DXM are also used with the OTC pain medicine acetaminophen, liver damage can occur.

OTC Pain Medication Abuse

OTC pain medications, like acetaminophen, are generally used for their pain-relieving and fever-reducing properties. Acetaminophen abuse often results from an attempt to treat chronic pain without the use of opioid medication.

Dangers of OTC pain medication medicine abuse: When taken excessively, acetaminophen can severely damage the liver.

Nasal Decongestants (Pseudoephedrine) Abuse

Pseudoephedrine, a nasal decongestant found in many OTC cold medicines, can be used to make methamphetamine, a very addictive stimulant drug. For this reason, products containing pseudoephedrine are now sold “behind the counter.” A prescription is needed to buy them in some states, and limits are placed on how much a person can buy each month. In some states, only people 18 years of age or older can buy pseudoephedrine products.

Dangers of nasal decongestant abuse: When taken in excessive amounts, nasal decongestant medications can raise blood pressure, increase heart rate to a dangerous level, and cause irregular heartbeat, seizures or hallucinations.

Motion Sickness Pill Abuse

Dimenhydrinate is the active ingredient in pills like Dramamine and Bonide, which are used to treat motion sickness and vertigo. The drug, in high doses, has psychedelic properties. But it is also one of the most potentially deadly OTC drugs abused.

Dangers of motion sickness pill abuse: In high doses, motion sickness pills (dimenhydrinate) can cause hallucinations, irregular heartbeat, seizures, coma and even death.

Anti-Diarrheal Medication Abuse

Loperamide is the active ingredient in the anti-diarrheal medication Imodium. Imodium is often abused by people who are addicted to opioids, in an attempt to reduce withdrawal symptoms. In high doses, loperamide can produce euphoria and may sometimes temporarily reduce cravings for other drugs.

Dangers of anti-diarrheal medication abuse: Excessive dosage of loperamide can cause fainting, stomach pain, loss of consciousness, cardiovascular toxicity, and kidney failure.

Diet Pill Abuse

Diet pills often contain the drug ephedrine, a powerful stimulant that can both reduce appetite and increase energy. In high doses it produces a “rush”, and is sometimes used as a cheaper alternative to the club drug ecstasy.

Dangers of diet pill abuse: Diet pill abuse can cause stomach pain, headache, vomiting, seizures and potentially fatal irregular heartbeat, stroke or heart attack.

Over-the-Counter Sleeping Pill Abuse

OTC sleep aids, such as Advil PM, Sominex, ZzzQuil, Unisom and others, contain diphenhydramine, an antihistamine that blocks brain receptors that cause wakefulness; so they can cause sleepiness instead. These products are often marketed as “non-habit-forming,” but they can easily become psychologically – if not physically – addictive.

Dangers of OTC sleeping pill abuse: Diphenhydramine can cause constipation, confusion, dizziness and next-day drowsiness, according to the drug’s FDA labeling. Another concern, according to a Consumer Reports review is the drug’s “hangover effect” – impaired balance, coordination, and driving performance the day after taking the drug, which can increase the risk for falls and accidents.

Abusing OTC Drugs is Risky Business

While the use of over-the-counter drugs may seem, at first glance, to be safe and worry-free, users should beware. The warning of the ancient Greeks, to “do nothing in excess” is certainly appropriate here. Over-the-counter medications are still drugs with powerful and potent active ingredients. Abuse or misuse of these products, such as taking them in excess amounts, can be just as harmful and risky as using illicit drugs.

Images Courtesy of iStock

Motion Sickness

What is motion sickness?

Motion sickness, also called seasickness, is a common disturbance of the inner ear. This is the area of the body that affects your sense of balance and equilibrium. Motion sickness happens when your brain receives conflicting messages about motion and your body’s position in space. The conflicting messages are delivered from your inner ear, your eyes (what you see), your skin receptors (what you feel), and muscle and joint sensors.

For example, you might become airsick because your eyes cannot see the turbulence that is tossing the plane from side to side. Motion sickness can occur with any mode of travel: ship, plane, train, bus, or car.

What are the symptoms of motion sickness?

Symptoms of motion sickness include dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Symptoms can strike suddenly, progressing from simply not feeling well to cold sweats, dizziness, and then vomiting.

Motion sickness is more common in women and in children 2-12 years old. People who suffer from migraine headaches are also more prone to motion sickness.

What can I do to prevent or minimize motion sickness?

If you know you have motion sickness or might be prone to it, consider this advice:

  • On a ship: When making your reservations, choose a cabin in the middle of the ship and near the waterline. When on board, go up on deck and focus on the horizon.
  • In an airplane: Request a window seat and look out the window. A seat over the front edge of the wing is the most preferable spot (the degree of motion is the lowest here). Direct the air vent to blow cool air on your face.
  • On a train: Always face forward and sit near a window.
  • In a vehicle: Sit in the front seat; if you are the passenger, look at the scenery in the distance. For some people, driving the vehicle (rather than being a passenger) is an instant remedy.

Other tips to prevent or minimize motion sickness:

  • Do not read in a moving vehicle. If you are prone to motion sickness, reading is likely to make it worse.
  • Get plenty of rest. Get a good night’s sleep the evening before you travel. Being overtired can make you more susceptible to motion sickness.
  • Avoid greasy or acidic foods. Avoid heavy, greasy, and acidic foods in the hours before you travel. These types of foods – such as coffee, orange juice/grapefruit juice, bacon, sausage, pancakes – are slow to digest, and in the case of coffee, can speed up dehydration. Better choices include breads, cereals, grains, milk, water, apple juice, apples, or bananas. Do not skip eating but do not overeat.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist and urine light in color.
  • Do not drink large amounts of alcohol the evening before you travel. Alcohol speeds up dehydration and generally lowers your body’s resistance to motion sickness, if you are prone to it.
  • Stand if you feel queasy. Stand up, if you can, and look out over the horizon. Despite what you might think, sitting or lying down actually may make you feel worse.
  • Don’t smoke and avoid others who smoke.
  • Eat dry crackers. Dry crackers may help settle a queasy stomach.
  • Use the seat head rest. Lean your head against the back of the seat or head rest when traveling in vehicles with seats to minimize head movements.
  • Avoid others who have become nauseous with motion sickness. Seeing and smelling others who have motion sickness may cause you to become sick.

How is motion sickness treated?

Motion sickness can be treated with over-the-counter and prescription drug products.

  • Over-the-counter products: Antihistamines are commonly used both to prevent and treat motion sickness. Antihistamines to consider for this purpose include meclizine (Antivert®, Bonine®), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine®), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl®). The side effect of these medications is drowsiness. Meclizine is much less sedating, making it a preferred treatment. Nonsedating antihistamines such as fexofenadine (Allegra®) are not effective in treating motion sickness.
  • Prescription products: Scopolamine oral pills and skin patch (Transderm Scop®) is another option. The patch formulation is applied to the skin area behind the ear and can help prevent motion sickness for up to three days per patch. Scopolamine may create an annoying dry mouth side effect. Certain patients with glaucoma and other health problems should not use this drug. Be sure to tell your doctor of your existing health problems so that he or she can determine which drug is best suited for you.

Of the above drug products, only dimenhydrinate and diphenhydramine are recommended for use in young children.

Nonpharmaceutical remedies

Numerous nondrug options have been promoted as being helpful in relieving or preventing motion sickness. In most cases, the proof supporting these products is not as rigorous as that of approved drugs. However, you may want to try one of these options:

  • Aromatherapy with ginger or lavender may help.
  • Oral use of ginger or peppermint can sooth the stomach. Ginger, in pills or powder, is available in many herb or health food stores. Eating peppermint is also thought to be generally calming.
  • Acupressure wristbands may prevent the feeling of nausea for some.

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Dramamine Chewable Motion Sickness Relief for Kids, Grape Grape8.0ea

  • The only medicated motion sickness relief product formulated just for children ages 2-12
  • Treats and prevents nausea, dizziness and vomiting
  • Safe, precise dose in a fun, chewable grape flavor
  • #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand for motion sickness
  • 8 chewable tablets in a travel case

Dramamine for Kids is the only medicated motion sickness relief product formulated just for children ages 2-12 from the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand. It treats symptoms on the spot, preventing nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Dramamine for Kids has a safe, precise dose in a fun, chewable grape flavor, and it comes in a convenient, portable travel case ideal for car rides, boat rides, and airplane trips! Always bring Dramamine with you! You don’t want to be caught in the air, on the water, or on the road without Dramamine. Thirty three percent of all kids ages 2-12 suffer from motion sickness. Dramamine is the only leading brand to have developed a solution formulated specifically for children 2 years and older, not only preventing nausea, dizziness and vomiting, but also treating symptoms on the spot. Here are some tips:
1. If your child is prone to motion sickness or if he/she unexpectedly begins to feel motion sick during a trip, tell him or her to look out at the horizon and focus on a non-moving object. An older child might feel better sitting in the front seat, too.
2. Get fresh air. Sit outdoors with your child (on a boat) or open a window (in a car or bus) when possible. The fresh air helps distract from those oogly-booglies.
3. The last thing a parent wants to hear from a child is, I’m gonna be sick! This is why one of the most important items to pack when traveling with children is a bag or bucket. Be sure to keep it close at hand, too. It won’t do you any good buried beneath a pile of suitcases in the trunk.
4. Ginger is a spice renowned for its ability to soothe an upset tummy. Pack a few ginger-infused, low-sugar candies in your day-pack as a sweet distraction for your little one during your journey.
5. Use a distraction. Take your child’s mind off the motion sickness by playing music (on headphones on a plane). Anything that requires too much thinking, like playing a game or reading books, probably will just make things worse.
6. Pack some protein. Avoid giving your child too many sugary treats, which can make them shaky. Don’t overeat either. Instead, stick to small, protein-packed snacks like a handful of nuts, a protein bar, or peanut butter crackers.
Not only is Dramamine the most trusted over-the-counter treatment for motion sickness, it is the #1 Pharmacist Recommended brand to both prevent and treat the condition.

Made in Italy

To prevent motion sickness, the first dose should be taken 1/2 to 1 hour before starting activity. To prevent or treat motion sickness, see below: Children 2 to under 6 years: Give 1/2 to 1 chewable tablet every 6-8 hours. Do not give more than 3 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor. Children 6 to under 12 years: Give 1 to 2 chewable tablets every 6-8 hours. Do not give more than 6 chewable tablets in 24 hours, or as directed by a doctor. Store at room temperature 68 degrees-77 degrees F (20 degrees-25 degrees C). © Prestige Brands Holdings, Inc.

Avoid motion sickness with these remedies

Planes, trains, boats, and automobiles can quickly turn into roving torture chambers when motion sickness kicks in. Some folks are more susceptible than others, but most travelers get hit with it sooner or later. Here’s what to bring along when you take to the road this summer, so you can enjoy your lunch-and avoid losing it.
First, the one piece of good news about motion sickness: If you’re traveling with infants, you probably won’t have to worry about them. Children rarely get motion sickness before age 2. But as kids grow up they become increasingly susceptible. The worst years are usually between the ages of 4 and 10. Women are more often affected than men, especially when they are pregnant, menstruating, or taking birth-control pills. Also, migraine sufferers appear to be more prone to motion sickness.
So what causes that queasy feeling? “Motion sickness is often a disconnect between what the eyes see and the body feels,” says Paul Gahlinger, M.D., adjunct professor of medicine at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and a pilot. You get seasick below deck in a boat because the appearance that nothing is moving doesn’t jibe with the sensation of motion felt by your inner ear. “One way to right yourself is to focus on a visible horizon,” says Gahlinger. Go on deck and focus on the point where waves meet sky; in a car, look at passing scenery. “If you can’t do that, minimize the brain disconnect by lying down or reclining and closing your eyes.”

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