How is motion sickness managed?

Updated: Oct 22, 2018
  • Author: Andrew Brainard, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

In considering treatment for motion sickness, the medical provider and the patient must understand that prevention is much more effective than trying to “cure” symptoms once they have started. Both pharmacological and nonpharmacological treatments are more effective if applied before the application of the motion stimuli and should certainly work best if applied before the appearance of significant symptoms.

Multiple pharmacologic treatments exist. [10] As previously stated, they are more effective in preventing motion sickness than treating it and should be taken before motion exposure. In choosing a pharmacological therapy, the patient's age, comorbidities, and current medications should be considered, as well as the length of voyage in which the patient may be susceptible to motion sickness. The 2 classes most commonly used are anticholinergic agents (scopolamine) and antihistamines (dimenhydrinate [Dramamine]). They are discussed in detail, by class, under Medication.


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