Motion sickness medication

Eric Freedman

My friend and crewmember asked to poll the group as to what seasick medications are used.

He is a PhD specializing in inner ear problems particularly motion sickness. He works at a world-famous medical center. He is a consultant to NASA and has worked for many private and government agencies.

I thought you all might be  interested in his thoughts.

He uses Cinnarizine on a passage.


Hi Eric,

   So here is some light reading for you on the subject.  As you can see, there are many competing studies, but to get a sense of the big picture here you go.  My view as a vestibular scientist who has worked with clinicians, the space program docs, other sailors, and had personal experience is:


  1. scopolamine/dex patches are difficult to use for sailors because they don’t dose well, come off when wet, can have adverse side effects for some (particularly women) including dizziness, malaise, and even halucinations.  However, many studies show the scop/dex patches work for motion sickness effectively.
  2. Cinnarizine is the least for issuing side effects, usually drowsiness, but at 15 – 25 mg bid, this is minimal and effective for motion sickness particularly at sea state frequencies of 0.2 – 0.5 Hz
  3. Promethazine is really only affective with IM injections or suppositories, as is used for space crews and is given only before they have a sleep cycle to avoid cognitive side effects and drowsiness.  Not used for general sea sickness by any military groups
  4. Meclizine is often used for motion sickness, but has a high incidence of drowsiness and cognitive effects equivalent to 0.1 BAL at doses that are effective


So the research continues….


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