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Can you drink on dramamine: Effects of Mixing Dramamine and Alcohol

Effects of Mixing Dramamine and Alcohol

Dramamine is a brand-name motion sickness medicine. Dimenhydrinate—itself a chemical combination of the antihistamine diphenhydramine and a methylxanthine stimulant called 8-chlorotheophylline—comprises the primary active ingredients in Dramamine (original formulation).

Together, these compounds help to alleviate the symptoms associated with motion sickness, such as nausea, dizziness, and vomiting and to offset some of the drowsiness common to this type of treatment.1

What Is Motion Sickness?

Motion sickness is a condition that commonly develops under certain circumstances, such as while boating (especially on choppy waters), sitting on a turbulent flight, or riding in a car on winding roads.

Motion sickness is thought to develop as a result of a mismatch of sensory signals processed by your brain. Your brain receives sensory information from many places, including your eyes, inner ears, joints, and muscles. When the usual processing of these parallel signals is somewhat disrupted—for example, by unusual motion in a car, boat, or plane—you may begin to feel sick.

For example, think about a common scenario that invokes motion sickness: reading in the backseat of the car. Your eyes are looking at something stationary (the book) and you don’t have a clear view of the road (you’re likely looking at the back of the seat in front of you). However, your inner ears send signals to your brain that indicate that you are moving. With these mixed signals, you may start to feel bad quickly. Initially, you may feel slightly uneasy in your stomach, but these feelings can rapidly progress to dizziness and nausea or vomiting.2

While anyone may get motion sick, women (especially those who are pregnant) and children are especially vulnerable.3,4

Mixing Dramamine with Alcohol

Healthcare professionals warn against mixing Dramamine and alcohol. Alcohol can intensify the side effects of Dramamine, such as drowsiness and dizziness. 6

Common side effects of both Dramamine and alcohol are drowsiness and impaired motor coordination. This can be a particularly dangerous combination when someone under the influence of these substances gets behind the wheel of a car or attempts to operate heavy machinery.

Consuming alcohol with motion sickness medicines also increases your risk of overdose.6 The signs of an overdose on Dramamine include:

  • Dilated pupils.
  • Flushing.
  • Severe drowsiness.
  • Hyperactivity.
  • Loss of coordination/stumbling.
  • Confusion.
  • Trouble speaking clearly.
  • Problems swallowing (dysphagia).
  • Hallucinations.
  • Seizures.
  • Coma.

If you, or someone you know, are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek emergency medical care right away. A full recovery is likely if the person gets proper medical care and if they survive the first 24 hours. 7

Motion Sickness Medicines and Alcohol: Do Not Mix

It is safe to say that motion sickness medicines and alcohol do not mix. Dramamine, like all motion sickness medicines, can interact in dangerous ways with other drugs. It is important to be very cautious when taking Dramamine if you are using any other substance, and alcohol is no exception to this.

If you are going to drink alcohol and want to combat your motion sickness without risking sedation or Dramamine overdose, some alternative methods you can try include:4,8

  • Changing your position: This could mean riding in the front instead of the back, or picking a window seat in a plane.
  • Keep your head firmly against the back of your seat.
  • Staying hydrated.
  • Avoiding tobacco.
  • Eating small, frequent meals.
  • Lying on your back and closing your eyes.
  • Sucking on a flavored lozenge.
  • Trying distractions such as listening to music or focusing on your breathing.
  • Consuming ginger: research has shown it can effectively reduce nausea.

Motion Sickness Medicines

Motion sickness will usually resolve not long after you remove yourself from the situation that caused you to get sick, and the condition is not especially harmful; however, it can be very distressing. Dramamine and other motion sickness medications can help to lessen your symptoms and provide some relief.

Dramamine primarily acts as an antihistamine. Other brand-name, over-the-counter antihistamines approved to treat the symptoms of motion sickness include:

  • Benadryl.
  • Bonine.
  • Antivert.

In some cases, motion sickness/nausea medications may also be prescribed. Each of these medications comes with their own warning labels and instructions for use, so it is important to read the box of the specific medication you are using.

In the case of Dramamine, it is recommended to take the medicine 30–60 minutes before starting an event that may trigger your motion sickness, such as a plane or boat ride. 1

There are several different Dramamine products which contain various active ingredients. These include an all-day version and a non-drowsy version. The original formula can be taken every 4–6 hours, but no more than 8 tablets should be taken in a 24-hour period.1

The doses and daily maximums differ for children, so it’s important to read the instructions fully when giving one of these medicines to a child. Dramamine should not be taken by children under 2 years old unless directed by a doctor, and this applies even to the kids’ version of the medicine.1

While Dramamine is generally safe, there are some side effects to be aware of before you take it.

Side Effects of Dramamine

Like any medicine, Dramamine does have some risks and adverse effects. Many of the side effects are mild and will resolve on their own, but it is possible to experience more severe side effects as well. In this case, you should stop using Dramamine right away and seek medical attention, if necessary.

Common side effects of Dramamine include:5

  • Drowsiness.
  • Dry mouth, nose, and/or throat.
  • Excitability in children.
  • Headache.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Ringing in the ears.
  • Incoordination.

More severe side effects that may require medical attention include:5

  • Onset of or worsening of dizziness.
  • Fainting.
  • Pounding heart.
  • Irregular heartbeat.

Drinking alcohol while taking Dramamine can increase the risks.

Alcohol and Dramamine | Is It Safe To Mix Alcohol and Dramamine?

Alcohol can interact with many types of medications, but how does it interact with Dramamine?

Article at a Glance:

Important points to remember about alcohol and Dramamine use include:

Avoid drinking alcohol while taking Dramamine because the combination may lead to dangerous side effects

In excessive levels, alcohol and Dramamine use can lead to overdose

If an overdose is suspected, contact medical help immediately

Alcohol & Dramamine

Dramamine is the brand name of the drug dimenhydrinate, which is a common antihistamine used to treat symptoms of motion sickness including nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Dramamine is available in tablets that can be chewed or swallowed and can be purchased over the counter without a prescription.

Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) is not the only over-the-counter antihistamine used for motion sickness. Bonine (meclizine) is also an over-the-counter antihistamine used for the same purpose. Dramamine and Bonine work in similar ways and should be avoided with alcohol due to the risk of drowsiness, dizziness and problems staying alert.

Because Dramamine is so easily accessible, many people take it without speaking to a health care provider. However, there are important aspects to consider when taking Dramamine, especially if you are considering drinking alcohol while on the medication.

Overall, it’s not safe to drink alcohol and take Dramamine at the same time as it could lead to dangerous side effects and increase the risk of addiction.

Alcohol and Dramamine Side Effects

When alcohol is combined with Dramamine, the side effects are amplified because both of these substances are depressants.

Symptoms that may occur if someone takes Dramamine and drinks alcohol simultaneously may include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting or blacking out (especially with increased alcohol abuse)
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Risk of falls, particularly in older people
  • Risk of developing an alcohol use disorder
  • Risk of a Dramamine overdose

Can You Overdose from Alcohol and Dramamine?

It’s possible to overdose on Dramamine on its own or black out from drinking too much alcohol. Combining Dramamine with alcohol only increases the risk of overdose.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

Signs of an overdose related to Dramamine and alcohol use may include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Inability to speak clearly
  • Confusion
  • Unsteadiness
  • Dilated pupils
  • Flushing of the skin
  • Issues swallowing
  • Hallucinations

If someone overdoses on Dramamine and alcohol, a health care professional should be contacted immediately. An overdose with Dramamine and alcohol is not to be taken lightly and can be fatal.

If you think you might be an alcoholic, you are not alone. Help is available. Reach out to a representative of The Recovery Village today to learn more about our alcohol detox or alcohol rehab treatment options that could meet your needs.

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Editor – Camille Renzoni

Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more

Medically Reviewed By – Nathan Jakowski, PharmD

Nate Jakowski is a clinical pharmacist specializing in drug information and managed care. He completed his Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the University of Wisconsin. Read more

DailyMed. “Dramamine Package Insert.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2019.

Campanelli, Christine. “American Geriatrics Society Updated Beer[…] Use in Older Adults.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012. Accessed March 24, 2019.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Harmful Interactions: Mixing Alcohol with Medications.” Published in 2014. Accessed March 24, 2019.

MedlinePlus. “Dimenhydrinate.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2018. Accessed March 24, 2019.

Drugs.com. “

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

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Is it possible to take expired medicines

March 16, 2022



Some drugs are effective even after 40 years.

You can listen to the article. If it’s more convenient for you, turn on the podcast:

Let’s say right away: you should still get rid of drugs that have expired. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, strongly recommends it. And there are a number of good reasons for this recommendation.

For example, in some preparations, bacteria may begin to multiply over time. Others become pacifiers: you drink them, hoping for a cure, and the disease progresses. Still others change their chemical composition and generally turn into poison.

The FDA’s arguments sound logical. However, the issue of expired drugs is not as straightforward as it seems. And that’s why.

Why Expired Medicines Are Not Necessarily Bad

First, let’s look at what an expiration date is. This is the period during which the pharmaceutical company that has released this or that drug guarantees its safety and effectiveness. But the definition of the duration of this period is a very doubtful thing.

The shelf life is generally determined as follows. Having released the next drug, the manufacturer fixes its characteristics, including the chemical composition and concentration of active substances, and then puts the drug on the shelf. A year later, the composition of the drug is analyzed again and a conclusion is made about its effectiveness. Two years later, the analysis is repeated. And so on.

The problem is this: suppose a drug has been on the shelf for three years. It is impossible to release it for sale without a specified expiration date. However, it is simply unprofitable for a pharmaceutical company to delay the start of sales. Therefore, the manufacturer indicates an already verified period as the expiration date – the same “3 years” – and sends the drug to pharmacies with a clear conscience.

In fact, the drug can remain effective for more than three years. But the creators don’t check it anymore.

Lee Cantrell

Director of the San Diego Division of the California Poison Control Center.

Pharmaceutical companies are the only ones with the money to conduct long-term drug efficacy studies. However, they have absolutely no financial incentive to do so.

However, there are departments that have a financial incentive to study the true expiration date of drugs. For example, the US Department of Defense. At 19In 1986, it partnered with the FDA to launch what it calls the Shelf-Life Extension Program (SLEP for short) to save on the cost of refurbishing drugs that are kept in emergency stockpiles.

The program regularly bears fruit. For example, in 2006, SLEP tested 122 different drugs stored under ideal conditions. The shelf life of most of them ended up being extended by about four years.

Which expired medicines can and cannot be taken

Let us emphasize once again: despite the above data, it is still worth listening to the FDA recommendations and diligently updating the first-aid kit as needed. This is not the most economical, but definitely the healthiest option.

Barbara Stark Baxter

M.D. Columbia University College of Surgery and Internal Medicine, New York.

The expiration date is the date when responsibility for the efficacy and safety of a drug passes from the manufacturer to the consumer.

But what if, for example, you have a headache, and you only have paracetamol expired by a couple of months? Or worse: you or someone nearby has a severe allergic reaction (the same Quincke’s edema), and there is even an auto-injector with adrenaline, but the expiration date . .. To inject or not? Let’s figure it out.

Which expired drugs are unsafe

No clinical studies have been conducted to confirm the dangers of expired drugs. However, the experts of the Drugs.com information database, based on common sense, strongly recommend DO NOT USE the following medicines after the expiration date.

  1. Insulin . It is used to control blood sugar levels in diabetes. The drug can change its chemical composition and at least not help.
  2. Oral nitroglycerin . A popular remedy for angina pectoris. Once opened, nitroglycerin quickly loses its effectiveness.
  3. Biologicals . This category, in particular, includes vaccines, blood products, immunoglobulins, toxoids. Their active ingredients are also quickly destroyed.
  4. Tetracycline antibiotics . According to some reports, after the expiration date, they can produce a toxic metabolite. This is a controversial issue, but it is better not to seek the truth at the risk of your own health.
  5. Antibiotic suspension . After the expiration date, they are highly likely to become useless.
  6. Eye drops, nasal sprays and other preparations containing preservatives . Over time, preservatives break down, which means that bacteria can begin to multiply in the solution.
  7. Injectable medicines . You should not take risks with them even if the contents of the syringe have not changed their appearance. And it is absolutely necessary to refuse injections if the solution has become cloudy, discolored, or a precipitate has appeared in it.
  8. Individually formulated preparations . These medications are not approved by the FDA, but are sometimes necessary. A pharmacist can combine several ingredients to create a product tailored to the needs of an individual patient. In no case should individually combined drugs be taken after the expiration date declared by the attending physician, since their effect becomes unpredictable.
  9. Any medication that looks old and spoiled . If the tablets crumble or smell bad, the solution is cloudy, and the ointment or cream is dry, do not eat or smear them on yourself. This is strictly prohibited.

What expired drugs can be used if necessary

Potentially, the list of such drugs is quite wide. For example, in a 2012 study, scientists analyzed eight drugs with 15 active ingredients that had expired 28 to 40 years ago.

Lee Cantrell

We have found that some of these drugs, even 40 years after their date of manufacture, are still fully effective.

Perhaps there are many more such “long-playing” drugs. But we will list only those active substances and preparations for which there are scientifically established data.

  1. Paracetamol . Even being expired for many years, the active substance remains 99% effective. Researchers, however, do not vouch that all expired pills will be equally effective. So if the first pill doesn’t help, still don’t take the second one.
  2. Aspirin . Not as magical as paracetamol: 10 years after the expiration date, aspirin loses 99% of its effectiveness. But if only 1-2 years have passed, and there is no other painkiller at hand (but it is very necessary!), You can try to heal with such a pill. By the way, there is a life hack that allows you to recognize an unequivocally spoiled drug: unusable aspirin breaks down into components and begins to smell unpleasantly of acetic acid. Taking such a remedy is absolutely useless.
  3. Codeine . Strictly prescription substance with antitussive effect. Even being deeply overdue, it retains its effectiveness by more than 90%.
  4. Antihistamines, in particular based on loratadine . The publication Men’s Health provides evidence that loratadine successfully survived stress tests: it was heated for 6 hours at a temperature of 70 ° C, and marinated in direct sunlight for a day. After such harsh experiments, 99% of the active substance “survived”. This means that loratadine is likely to remain effective long after the expiration date.
  5. EpiPens . These are expensive adrenaline auto-injectors that are used to stop deadly allergic reactions. One study found that 4 years after the expiration date, EpiPens were still 84% effective. This is not a record figure and not carte blanche, removing the need to buy a new auto-injector to replace an expired one. This is just information: in an emergency, an expired EpiPen is still better than nothing.

After mentioning the EpiPen, an important thing to say is that experimenting with drug expiration dates is only acceptable if your life does not depend on these drugs. If you still value your health, update the first-aid kit in a timely manner.

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what is possible and what is not.

ZR expert answers – magazine Driving

The question of whether to drink or not to drink when it comes to driving a car is simply not worth it. Of course, do not drink – if we are talking about alcohol. What about medicines? Many of them are also very dangerous, which many are either unaware of or carelessly forget about.

Ilya Pimenov, expert of Za Rulem magazine, answers readers’ questions.

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Question: My friend is allergic and often takes diphenhydramine, including while driving a car. Once, noticing her inhibited reaction, I “removed” her from driving. Please tell me how dangerous or safe this drug is for drivers. (Konstantin)

Answer: Diphenhydramine is a powerful antihistamine drug, its use can cause drowsiness, impaired coordination of movement, and increased nervousness. It is clear that all this does not contribute to driving.

By the way, paragraph 2.7 of the SDA expressly prohibits driving a car not only in a state of alcoholic or drug intoxication, but also under the influence of drugs that impair reaction and attention, in a sick and tired state. So the “removal” from management was justified not only from a moral, but also from a legal point of view. Other antihistamine (antiallergic) drugs can also be classified as potent drugs that cause drowsiness.

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Question: In the morning I went to the dentist, who removed my tooth with local anesthesia with ultracaine. After leaving the doctor’s office, I got behind the wheel, but I felt nausea and dizziness and had to leave the car until the evening. A few days before going to the dentist, I started taking afobazole to relieve anxiety (I have been afraid of dentists since childhood). Could my body’s reaction be a response to taking these drugs together? And how can you drive without fear after going to the dentist? (Semyon)

Answer: The use of any anesthetic can cause a reaction similar to the one you describe, especially when combined with other drugs. So after applying anesthesia, it’s better not to drive for at least a couple of hours after all. By itself, afobazole, having a calming effect, does not cause drowsiness and nausea and does not harm driving, unlike corvalol, valocordin, motherwort tinctures, valerian, which many use for the same – soothing – purpose. In this case, the test for narcotic substances will show the presence in the body of barbiturates – psychotropic drugs. After taking the listed drugs, you can drive only on the third day!

The next time you go for dental treatment, try (if possible) not to drive your car, use a taxi or public transport.

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Question : I suffer from acute respiratory viral infections that turn into bacterial infections. You have to take antibiotics (clarithromycin, amoxiclav, etc.). I did not notice any side effects that affect attention and reaction. Questions:

1. The instructions do not contain direct indications of the impact on the management of vehicles and mechanisms. How do these drugs affect this and can they be used while driving?

2. Do antibiotics contain banned substances?

3. How soon after the end of the course of treatment can I drive a car?

Sincerely, Peter

Answer: The manufacturers of clarithromycin indicate that the drug can cause sleep disturbance, dizziness, tinnitus, even hallucinations. Amoxiclav in some cases causes nausea, unreasonable anxiety, severe headache, inappropriate behavior, attacks of aggression, foggy consciousness, slow reaction. All this also clearly does not contribute to normal driving and leads to a violation of the same paragraph 2.7 of the SDA. However, with the right choice of dosage, such a reaction of the body may not be. There is no direct ban on the use of these drugs by drivers. And absolutely healthy people, as you know, do not exist. All of these drugs are excreted from the body within a day. But this is only indicative information. Your doctor can give you the exact one. Be sure to consult with him on the topic of driving a car.

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Question: I take asthma medications – beclamethasone aerosols, berodual. The treatment regimen is 4 times a day. Aerosols are based on ethyl alcohol, which settles in the oral cavity and enters the gastrointestinal tract. How stable are ethanol vapors in the lungs, in the oral cavity? What period must be kept after inhalation so that the breathalyzer does not react? Does this medication affect the presence of ethanol in the blood?

Sincerely, Dmitry

Answer: And we strongly recommend that you consult with your doctor about the use of these drugs while driving. However, it is clear that alcohol-based drugs are more dangerous for drivers due to a possible alcohol background. The smell from the driver, combined with agitation or lethargy, will provoke a traffic police inspector to send you for a drug test. However, even with the regular use of these drugs, you are unlikely to reach 0.35 ppm in the blood. And just in case, we recommend that you stock up on a certificate that you are taking asthma medication.

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Question : Good afternoon.

I heard more than once that for a confectionery poppy in a bun, if you take tests during a medical examination, you can be recognized as an opium addict, with the corresponding consequences, and even put on record in a drug dispensary. Is it so? What is the period of removal of confectionery poppy from the body? I ask, because I love various store-bought pastries, and sometimes, when reading the composition, I see that “there may be a confectionery poppy” in a bun, in which it doesn’t seem to be, and shouldn’t be. (Aleksey)

Answer: Indeed, drug tests are very sensitive and can detect heroin use after 4 days, cannabinoid use after 5 days.

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