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Doctors' Answers to "Frequently Asked Questions" - Sea Sickness


These comments are made for the purpose of discussion and should NOT be used as recommendations for or against therapies or other treatments. An individual patient is always advised to consult their own physician.

Seasickness Patch [posted 7/27/98]
Question: I understand that a new seasickness patch is on the market. Is the new one still called a "Scopolamine patch"? If not, what is it called?

Answer: I just heard that the company is again making Transderm scop. It's the same as available 6 years ago, but not made until this year. I haven't had a prescription filled yet, but heard that it is available again.

Sea Sickness Medication
Question: I'm going on my third cruise for my honeymoon in 2 weeks and have been looking everywhere for a drug called Marazine. I've taken this drug before to prevent Motion/Sea Sickness on my last two cruises. It worked great, I had no major side effects, I could drink liquor, and it did not cause drowsiness. I've looked everywhere and searched the Internet for this drug, but still cannot find it. Could you please let me know if you've heard of this drug? If so, where can I find it or is it no longer being manufactured?

Answer: Itís not currently in the PDR and I'm not familiar with it. Sounds like an antihistamine (the usual treatment for motion sickness.

Sea Sickness
Question: What can I take or use to prevent sea sickness?

Answer: "Sea-sicknessî or "motion sickness" is experienced by many people and is a normal response to conditions similar to that found on high seas during stormy weather. Individuals can get the nausea malaise and other unpleasant symptoms while on a boat, in a car, on a plane, or even in an elevator that makes rapid stops or starts. In fact some people actually get "seasick" after returning to land after being out on a boat for an extended period of time. To experience motion sickness, one must have a normally functioning vestibular, or balance, system. Most people adapt fairly rapidly to motion, and after a few days at sea, for example, no longer experience the symptoms despite no change in the motion of the ship or boat. The treatment of this problem involves taking any one of several medications. All of which adequately stop the symptoms. Note that the medications work best when taken approximately 1 hour prior to the anticipated trip. Antihistamines such as Dramamine (generic name is dimenhydrinate) or Antivert (generic name is meclizine) are effective. Dramamine has rapid onset of action and therefore may also work reasonably well if taken soon after symptoms start. The effect of Dramamine lasts about 4 hours, while that of meclizine about 12-24 hours. Note that a major side effect of this medication is drowsiness; therefore, if you plan on taking these medications, avoid any hazardous activity such as operating heavy machinery, driving a car, operating a boat, or piloting a plane. Scopolamine, now available as a patch applied to the skin delivers medication slowly over three days and is effective in many patients. The main side effects are dry mouth and occasionally blurry vision, but there is less drowsiness. If you have glaucoma or prostate problems, you should avoid taking this medication. See your healthcare provider for more details on these treatments to decide which is best for you.

Sea sickness
Question: What do you suggest for prevention and treatment of sea sickness?

Answer: There really isn't anything very good. Old standbys like dramamine, benadryl, etc... are still the best. There used to be a drug called Transcope-S, but it is no longer manufactured.

Sea Sickness
Question: I am planning a cruise in August and would like information on this drug used for sea sickness. What does would be for an 11 year old boy who does get motion sickness. I only heard of Bonine recently and would like to know how effective it is. I know Dramamine can make you tired, and Bonine is a 24 hour. drug which is not supposed to make you sleepy.

Answer: Bonine is used for motion sickness, but it also causes drowsiness. Actually, all of the current medications will cause drowsiness including Dramamine, Antivert, etc.

Sea Sickness - Transcope-S
Question: Why was this anti-seasickness medication taken off the market and will it be back on the market anytime soon? If no, what else is as effective?

Answer: I really don't know why it was taken off the market. It certainly worked. I don't know of its return anytime soon. There is no equivalent drug to take in its place currently.

Sea Sickness
Question: What alternatives are there to Transderm Scope and what side effects do these alternatives have? I miss my Transderm Scope because it was the only way I knew of treating my motion sickness without thoroughly sedating myself. My particular situation is that I am a sailor that is prone to seasickness when the weather kicks up. I can't afford to get drowsy or lethargic while trying to pilot a sailboat through rough weather. I'd like to learn what options I have so that I can ask my doctor some intelligent questions.

Answer: I have been told this patch will be produced again this fall. I know of no other source of similar patches.

Sea Sickness
Question: My husband and I will be traveling by ship around the Cape of South America next week. We are wondering if there are any recommendations to prevent or cure sea sickness, as these are some of the roughest waters in the world.

Answer: There used to be a great product available called Transderm-S. This was a little patch that went behind one or both ears(depending on your need) to prevent motion sickness. It worked very well except that you had to start it 12-24 hours ahead of time. However, this patch is no longer available in the United States. It is supposed to be available next fall. It might be available in Europe or Canada, but I have been told that it is a manufacturing problem and not a problem with the drug. Over the counter medications like Dramamine and Benadryl are effective, but will cause drowsiness. I'd check with the shipís physician once you are on board if you can't locate any Transderm-S.

Sea Sickness
Question: I work on offshore installations and vessels and I always get seasick. Depending on weather conditions, this can last up to a week or more. I have tried everything and each time it gets me again. Have you ever heard of injections against seasickness that would last up to 3 months? Someone mentioned this to me recently, but did not know anything more about it.

Answer: Sorry, but I do not know of any.

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