Motion sickness is a general term for the nausea, dizziness, and weak feeling a person gets while traveling. The body is physically responding to conflicting signals from the eyes and inner ear that typically stay in balance. When the messages begin to clash, the brain center is left to resolve the conflict leading to vomiting.
Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription drugs exist for control of motion sickness. OTC options include meclizine (Bonine, Dramamine), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine Original), cyclizine (Marezine), and diphenhydramine (Benadryl). Be aware that all of these medications cause mild to moderate drowsiness and that they should be taken at least 30 minutes prior to travel. Scopolamine (Transderm Scop), by prescription, is available in patches placed behind the ear lasting for several days. This is ideal for patients likely to experience motion sickness on cruises, etc. Oral tablets are also available, but are used less frequently. Drowsiness occurs with scopolamine as well, and most patients apply the first patch a couple days before travel to acclimate to the side effects. If you have questions about any of these motion sickness medications, talk to the pharmacist the next time you are in the pharmacy.