The Misery Of Motion Sickness

The Misery Of Motion Sickness

Motion sickness or sea sickness can have a devastating effect on a diver during a sailing trip. Some may have tried a cure with the use of medications of motion sickness medicine such as Dramamine and Bonine. 

Sea sickness medicine or motion sickness medicine like Dramamine belongs to antihistamines. It is popular to prevent or treat the result of motion sickness, namely vomiting or dizziness. Bonine belongs to the class of antiemetics and also treats nausea, vertigo and motion sickness. The active substance of bonine addresses certain chemicals in the brain that cause vomiting.


What causes sea sickness or motion sickness?

Here we are talking the ‘sensory conflict hypothesis’. We all have our own internal representation of bodily movement. It is like a ‘picture’. This picture is subject to constant updates from you eyes, from the  ear’s vestibular system and from sensory receptors in your joints and muscles.

When the balance is ‘distorted’, there’s a mismatch in the signals you receive. Your body is at a loss to detect the movements as they occur. What happens is that your brain receives conflicting sensory inputs. The results are nausea and vomiting.


How to prevent motion sickness?

Scopolamine patches are a very effective way to prevent nausea associated with motion sickness. These patches are more effective than the motion sickness antihistamine meclizine in bonine. They’re also just as effective as dramamine but they don’t make you sleepy.


How do motion sickness patches work?

Scopolamine is prescribed as a transdermal patch. You put it on your skin. Scopolamine is less effective when it’s orally absorbed. One patch contains 1.5 mg of scopolamine and is meant to deliver 0.5 mg per day over a three-day period. So you have to change the patch every three days.

But how does it work? This is slightly complicated. The patch helps your body to understand its environmental orientation. It helps ‘streamlining’ and coordinating the irregular signals your inner ear might be sending to your brain.

The area behind your ear is highly permeable. That’s why the patch goes behind your ear. This is the place on your skin where the medication can get through the easiest. It is why scopolamine needs to be dosed at a lower quantity to be effective.


Are there any side effects related to motion sickness? 

The motion sickness patch may produce a dry mouth. This is a common complaint. Other side effects may be drowsiness, dilated pupils and rapid heartbeat. However, in general, the patch is very well tolerated.