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Dramamine drowsiness: An expert weighs in on Dramamine, ginger and more

An expert weighs in on Dramamine, ginger and more

Internal MedicineJuly 30, 2021


Pent-up desires to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to summer surges among vacation hot spots, hotels and airports. Since vaccines rolled out nationally this spring, many airlines have reported increased demand and that trend is only expected to continue. 
Studies show that motion sickness will affect most people at some point in their lives.

Travel seems to be on most of our minds. What may also come to mind is motion sickness for those who suffer from it, which is almost everybody at some point. 

“A study conducted in 2019 found that almost everyone has experienced or will experience motion sickness at some point in their lifetime,” said Natascha Tuznik, an infectious disease doctor with the UC Davis Health Traveler’s Clinic. 

Tuznik answers some common questions about motion sickness and ways to prevent or treat it.  

Where is motion sickness most likely to happen?

This depends upon specific conditions encountered. Seasickness is the most common form. A fun fact is that the word nausea is derived from the Greek word “naus” which means ship. Nausea literally means “ship-sickness.” But it can happen to people traveling by car, bus and plane, too.

In one survey of roughly 3,200 bus passengers, 28% felt ill, 13% reported nausea and 2% vomited. Another study highlighted motion sickness experienced by passengers on commercial airline flights, finding that 24% felt ill or nauseated.   

Who’s most likely to get motion sickness?

Women are more susceptible than men. Children under the age of 2 are typically resistant to motion sickness, while those around the age of 9 are more prone. Other factors that tend to lead to motion sickness include a history of migraines, hormonal changes (pregnant women, for example), genetics and even mindset. Often, those who expect to get sick are the ones who do.  

Does Dramamine work for motion sickness?

Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) is a popular go-to remedy. It is somewhat effective at reducing motion sickness symptoms, but it is an antihistamine. Like all antihistamines, it may cause drowsiness, dizziness and decreased mental alertness. Some people may experience the exact opposite effects, including insomnia, excitability and restlessness. Unfortunately, not much can be done to mitigate the side effects. If you’ve taken it before, you should expect similar side effects each time. 

Who should not take Dramamine?

Natascha Tuznik is an infectious disease physician with UC Davis Health’s Traveler’s Clinic.

Patients with a history of glaucoma, liver impairment, asthma, seizures, prostate enlargements or urinary blockage, thyroid dysfunction and cardiovascular disease should proceed with caution and speak with their physician first. 

Does it help to take the medicine before you start traveling?

If you have a history of severe motion sickness symptoms, it’s best to take medication one hour before your trip.  

What other medication options are there?

Bonine (meclizine) is another option. In comparison to Dramamine, Bonine touts “less drowsy” formulations. This is mainly because Bonine is taken once a day and Dramamine is taken every four to six hours as needed. That said, many studies show that as a whole, Dramamine is more effective at preventing motion sickness, though it is less convenient given the dosing. 

Another option is scopolamine, which is commonly known as the round patch placed behind one’s ear.

Non-sedative antihistamines such as Zyrtec, Claritin and Allegra do not appear to be effective for motion sickness.  

What about kids with motion sickness?

As noted, children under 2 typically do not experience motion sickness, while the incidence appears to peak at age 9. Generally, the same advice applies to children as it does for adults. If you need to use medication for your child, always speak with your pediatrician first. Almost all pediatric medications are weight-based, and some may have age restrictions, as well. Please never guess a dose without seeking medical advice for your child first. 

What about pets with motion sickness?

There are many pre-emptive strategies that exist for dogs and cats to prevent motion sickness. A medication for motion sickness in dogs called Cerenia (maropitant), is available, and is prescription-only from a licensed veterinarian. Dramamine may also be used, however as with pediatric patients, it is weight-based. Speak with your veterinarian first. 

Are there ways to prevent motion sickness?

Yes. Prevention is always the best option, when possible. Some options include: 

  • Use your environment: Try looking at the horizon, if you’re at sea, or another stationary object or fixture. 
  • Avoid reading. 
  • Where you sit matters. If you’re on a boat, avoid the upper levels. If you’re in a car, try to sit in the front. If you’re on a plane, look for a seat over the front edge of the wing.
  • Alternative methods like hard ginger candy, P6 acupressure and motion sickness & travel wristbands (one brand is Sea-Bands) can work well.  

For people with mild motion sickness history (which typically means that it does not interfere with your ability to function), the recommendations are for environmental modifications and complementary and alternative treatments mentioned above. Medications are typically not recommended, given that side effects will typically outweigh the benefits. 

Dramamine Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing


How to use Dramamine

Follow all directions on the product package. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth with or without food. Measure liquid forms of this medication using a special measuring device/spoon. Do not use a household spoon because you may not get the correct dose. The chewable tablets should be chewed thoroughly before being swallowed.

The dosage is based on your age, medical condition, and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose or take this medication more often than directed.

To prevent motion sickness, take the first dose 30 to 60 minutes before starting activity such as travel.

Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.

Side Effects

Drowsiness, constipation, blurred vision, or dry mouth/nose/throat may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To relieve dry mouth, suck (sugarless) hard candy or ice chips, chew (sugarless) gum, drink water, or use a saliva substitute.

If your doctor has directed you to use this medication, remember that your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: mental/mood changes (such as restlessness, confusion), fast/irregular heartbeat, shaking (tremor), difficulty urinating.

Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: seizures.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.


Before taking dimenhydrinate, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to diphenhydramine; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: breathing problems (such as asthma, emphysema), high pressure in the eye (glaucoma), heart problems, high blood pressure, liver disease, seizures, stomach/intestine problems (such as ulcers, blockage), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), difficulty urinating (for example, due to enlarged prostate).

This drug may make you drowsy or blur your vision. Alcohol or marijuana (cannabis) can make you more drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness or clear vision until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana (cannabis).

Before having surgery, tell your doctor or dentist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products).

Liquid products or chewable tablets may contain sugar and/or aspartame. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, phenylketonuria (PKU), or any other condition that requires you to limit/avoid these substances in your diet. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.

Children may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug. This drug can often cause excitement in young children instead of drowsiness.

Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially drowsiness, confusion, constipation, or trouble urinating. Drowsiness and confusion can increase the risk of falling.

During pregnancy, this medication should be used only when clearly needed. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

This drug passes into breast milk and may have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.


Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s approval.

Some products that may interact with this drug include: antihistamines applied to the skin (such as diphenhydramine cream, ointment, spray).

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana (cannabis), drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or other antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about using those products safely.

This medication may interfere with certain laboratory tests (including allergy skin test), possibly causing false test results. Make sure laboratory personnel and all your doctors know you use this drug.

Does Dramamine interact with other drugs you are taking?

Enter your medication into the WebMD interaction checker


If someone has overdosed and has serious symptoms such as passing out or trouble breathing, call 911. Otherwise, call a poison control center right away. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center. Symptoms of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, seizures, widened pupils. In children, mental/mood changes (such as restlessness, irritability, hallucinations) may occur before drowsiness.

Keep all medical and lab appointments.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is near the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose. Take your next dose at the regular time. Do not double the dose to catch up.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Do not freeze liquid forms of this medication. Keep all medications away from children and pets.

Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.



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Selected from data included with permission and copyrighted by First Databank, Inc. This copyrighted material has been downloaded from a licensed data provider and is not for distribution, except as may be authorized by the applicable terms of use.

CONDITIONS OF USE: The information in this database is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of healthcare professionals. The information is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions or adverse effects, nor should it be construed to indicate that use of a particular drug is safe, appropriate or effective for you or anyone else. A healthcare professional should be consulted before taking any drug, changing any diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment.

Dopamine brings dreams | Science and life

… at least in mice – in them, the increase in dopamine includes a phase of REM sleep.

We know that all animals, from mice to humans, sleep in biphasic sleep: non-REM sleep (which has several more stages) is replaced by REM sleep, and after REM sleep, the brain either wakes up for a short time or enters non-REM sleep again. REM sleep is also called REM sleep, where REM is an abbreviation for r apid e ye m ovement, that is, rapid eye movements. During REM sleep, you can notice how the sleeper’s eyes move under the eyelids; at the same time, breathing, heartbeat and electrical activity of the brain change. It is believed that during REM sleep we see most of the dreams. Although it is now known that they also come in non-REM sleep, nevertheless, it is REM sleep that is sometimes also called the dreaming phase.

(Photo: bilanol.i.ua / Depositphotos)

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At the same time, it is still not entirely clear how exactly the transition between non-REM and REM sleep occurs. We wrote that for this, muscarinic receptors for acetylcholine must work in neurons – without them, fast sleep is impossible. An important role is played by a special group of medulla oblongata cells that use GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) as a neurotransmitter – at their signal, the sleep phase switches from slow to fast.

In an article in Science , the staff of the University of Tsukuba writes that there is another switch – dopamine. And not just any dopamine, but the one that comes to the amygdala (amygdala) from neurons in the ventral tegmental region. Both the ventral tegmental region and the amygdala, which is called the emotional center of the brain, are part of a well-known reinforcement system, or reward system, which, with the help of dopamine, makes us feel deserved pleasure from the efforts made. However, it rarely happens in the brain that any area is engaged in only one task, and dopamine, as you know, is needed not only for pleasure.

Some neurons in the amygdala are known to be active during REM sleep. New experiments have shown that REM sleep begins shortly after dopamine levels rise in the amygdala – and this increase is due to neurons in the aforementioned ventral tegmental area, which extend their processes into the amygdala. When these neurons were stimulated in sleeping mice, REM sleep began two minutes after falling asleep, while the switch between slow-wave sleep and REM sleep usually occurred after eight minutes. With regular stimulation of dopamine neurons, the proportion of REM sleep in mice generally increased.

Moreover, if the same neurons were activated in awake mice, their skeletal muscles instantly turned off, and the mice themselves immediately plunged into REM sleep. That is, the nerve cells that switch sleep phases may be responsible, among other things, for narcolepsy – this is the name of a disease of the nervous system when a person suffers from attacks of irresistible drowsiness, when he can suddenly fall and fall asleep.

However, people here may have their own characteristics. On the one hand, due to certain drugs in the brain, we increase the level of dopamine, which, however, does not lead to narcolepsy and does not in any way increase REM sleep. On the other hand, dopamine in such cases does not rise purposefully in any particular area of ​​the brain, but everywhere; the effect of a general increase in dopamine is likely to be very different. And it is unlikely that dopamine alone switches the sleep phases – there are clearly several switches, and the transition from the slow to the fast phase depends on their coordinated action.

How the hormone dopamine affects the body and human behavior

How a change in the concentration of the hormone dopamine in the human body helps to quit smoking, provokes the emergence of gambling addiction and shopaholism, causes myopia, and also helps to fight cancer, tells the department of science ” Newspapers.Ru”.

Dopamine is an active chemical produced by the human brain and a hormone produced by the adrenal glands. Dopamine is naturally produced during processes that a person enjoys, which is why this substance is used by the brain to evaluate and reinforce important actions for later life.

Dopamine agonists, substances that stimulate dopamine receptors and increase the production of the hormone, are used to treat certain diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Scientists are conducting numerous studies aimed at clarifying the role of dopamine in other processes – the formation of various addictions, cancer treatment, and even smoking cessation.

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Gene Helps Quit Smoking

The presence in human DNA of a specific variant of the Taq1A gene called Taq1A A2/A2 can have a direct impact on a person’s ability to quit smoking. The study by an international team of scientists led by Ma Yunlong of Zhejiang University School of Medicine was published Tuesday night in Translational Psychiatry and in Nature .

The Taq1A A2/A2 gene encodes the work of dopamine receptors, thereby changing the degree of their activity. An excess amount of dopamine in the human brain, in turn, contributes to the formation of nicotine addiction – the brain begins to “realize” that smoking brings pleasure, which means that it is an action that needs to be repeated.

Scientists analyzed the results of 22 studies containing data on 11,075 people, 9487 of whom were Caucasians. The authors of the work claim that they were able to detect a pattern:

Caucasians whose DNA carried a specific variant of the Taq1A gene (Taq1A A2/A2) were much more likely to successfully cope with nicotine addiction and stop smoking than those who possessed the Taq1A A1/A1 or Taq1A A1/A2 genes.

The authors of the study emphasize that their work needs further verification, and it is too early to apply the findings in practical medicine.

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Gambling is a side effect of treatment

Another group of researchers found that doctors have long overestimated the effectiveness of dopamine receptor agonists, using them to combat Parkinson’s disease and psychiatric disorders.

Agonist drugs act on dopamine receptors, causing them to work more actively. An excess amount of the hormone provoked the formation of various mental disorders and addictions.

Thus, for ten years in 21 countries of the world, 1580 cases of addictions as a result of side effects of drugs were recorded. These cases included

628 episodes of gambling addiction, 465 cases of hypersexuality and 202 cases of shopaholism. Of the 1580 diagnoses made, 710 owed their occurrence to dopamine receptor agonists, 90,003 to 90,004, and the remaining 870 to all other types of drugs that affect the hormonal background. For more information about the study, see in JAMA Internal Medicine .

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Dopamine against cancer

But researchers from Ohio State University under the leadership of Sujit Basu still advise using dopamine as a cure – albeit for cancer. The corresponding article was published in the International Journal of Cancer .

Scientists have stated that

the use of dopamine significantly slows down the growth of blood vessels in a malignant tumor, and this is one of the most important factors in its growth, since blood vessels provide nutrition to the cancer.

In addition, the researchers claim that the use of dopamine reduces the negative effect of the drug 5-fluorouracil (an anticancer drug used in chemotherapy) on the composition of the patient’s blood.

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No dopamine – there will be myopia

This summer, scientists announced that they were able to find out the real cause of myopia in modern teenagers. An article about the work of researchers was published in the journal Nature.

In recent decades, myopia has taken on the character of an epidemic: in Europe and the United States, the number of myopic people has more than doubled over the past century, and in Asian countries the situation is even worse. So, if 60 years ago 10–20% of Chinese suffered from myopia, now there are already 9 of them.0%. In Seoul, 95. 6% of 19-year-olds are nearsighted.

Over the years, physicians have investigated the causes of myopia, which is caused by the elongation of the eyeball and focusing the image in front of the retina rather than on it. In the course of the work, it turned out that neither genetics nor the habit of modern people to spend a lot of time reading and in front of monitors of electronic devices are the decisive causes of the onset of the disease: the authors of the study stated that myopia is caused by a lack of daylight.

Modern people began to spend much less time on the street, and this is what provokes the occurrence of myopia, since under the influence of bright daylight the retina produces dopamine, and its lack causes the lengthening of the eyeball.

Doctors have calculated that to maintain good vision, a person needs at least three hours a day in 10,000 lux (the brightness of sunlight), while the most powerful illumination achievable indoors usually does not exceed 5,000 lux.