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Monday, August 8, 2011

Facts About Anti-Emetics

One typical discomfort in traveling is motion-sickness.  Also known as kinetosis or travel sickness, motion sickness is characterized by symptoms of nausea, dizziness and fatigue. It is a condition when a disagreement exist between the eyes and the ears- the visually perceived movement and the vestibular system sense of movement. Travelers use inhalants or embrocations to relieve dizziness but taking an anti-emetic as a preventive measure is the most common practice.

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There are the usual drugs for motion sickness, but in cases of unavailability, medical professionals use other alternative drugs. The following are information about the commonly used anti-emetics and the substitute medicine for motion sickness relief.

Common Anti-Emetic Drugs

  • Meclizine
Meclizine HCl is an effective anti-histamine or an anti-allergy drug but most widely used as an anti-emetic. Not only that it is indicated for the treatment of nausea, vomiting and dizziness associated with motion sickness, Meclizine is also used in nausea due to pregnancy (except for the first trimester) and vertigo associated with diseases affecting vestibular system. Since it is an over the counter drug, Meclizine is the most popular drug for motion- sickness.

Common brand names:Bonamine, Dizitab, Nodiz and Postadozine.
  •  Dimenhydrinate
Being a prescription medicine, Dimenhydrinate falls second to Meclizine. It is also categorized as an anti-vertigo and can be used as a sleep-aid. Its sedation property is more powerful than Meclizine.

 Common brand names: Emes and Gravol.
  • Cinnarizine
Cinnarizine is a prescription drug categorized as  antivertigo and as cerebral and peripheral dilators. It is used in prophylaxis and as a maintenance therapy for symptoms of cerebrovascular spasms and arteriosclerotic disorders due to aging, Meniere’s disease and labyrinthine disturbances.

Common brand names: Stugeron, Cinamin, Cinarin, Cinabloc, Vertisin.

Alternative Anti-Emetics
  • Dipenhydramine
Diphenhydramine falls in the same group of dimenhydrinate as aminoalkyl esters. This drug is usually used for its anti- allergic effect for hay fever, utricaria and other skin allergies and also as an antitussive. It has an antispasmodic and a sedative property that this can also be used as an anti-emetic.

Common brand names: Allerin AH, Benadryl
  • Hyoscine-N-Butylbromide
Hyoscine is an anti-spasmodic medicine, indicated for smooth muscle spasm in the GIT including biliary and renal colic. Parenterally or through injection, it is used as an aid in diagnostic and therapeutic procedures like  gastroduodenal endoscopy and radiology. Hyoscine is not normally used as an anti-emetic because of its other popular uses, but it can also be an effective remedy for motion-sickness.

Common brand names: Buscopan, Ascopen,Buscomed, Busopin.
  • Domperidone
Domperidone is commonly used for its  prokinetic action in the gastro intestinal motility. It is considered as an anti-emetic but not suitable for chronic nausea and vomiting.

Common brand names: Motilium, Andiogan, Domphenyl, Domper, Gasidone, Gilax.


  • The drugs mentioned above should be taken  thirty minutes before departure.
  • The common side-effect is drowsiness, therefore drugs like CNS depressant and alcohol should not be taken.
  • There are the hazards of the adverse reactions like the thightening of chest in dimenhydrinate, hypersensitivity reactions in metoclopramide and hyoscine or the diarrhea in Domperidone. It is always best to consult a physician regarding with these medications.
  1. MIMS Online
  2. Wilson and Gisvold Textbook of Inorganic Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry 9th edition

Original article published at Triond (July 19, 2010)