Scopolamine is arguably the most effective prescription drug for prevention of seasickness. Also
a combination of promethazine + ephedrine comes highly recommended from some credible
sources. This paper attempts to provide a concise summary of information on medications for
real seasickness. Your physiological mileage may vary and the best treatment is the one that
“While Meclizine, Bonine, and other agents like it; i.e., Dramamine, Antivert, Bucladin are
useful for motion sickness induced by mild stimuli, they are not strong enough to counteract real seasickness”. The seasickness recipe of a combination of an upper and a downer, both in small
doses, is the product of “Naval Aerospace Medical Research” and has been in use for nearly 20
years: (Dr’s John Bergan and Vincent Guzzetta)
• Promethazine, 12.5 + Ephedrine, 50mg
• Tigan suppositories - Antiemetic (treatment)
“My whole family gets seasick and we have tried many remedies.” (ask SAIL, Nov 2004)
The following recommendations were made to a reader who had severe reactions to
• From “NASA studies of many years ago”: promethazine 25 mg + ephedrine 50 mg -
• Stugeron tablets (cinnarizine, an antihistamine) are available OTC in Europe and
Motionsickness.net - Excellent source of information including government studies from Hope
Pharmaceuticals who produce Scopace; an oral scopolamine which provides better dosage
Seasickness.co.uk: Mal de Mer resource of medical papers Wildmed.com/medical_topics/sea_sick.html: Michael Jabobs, M.D., lectures and writes on
marine medicine topics. He is a practicing physician in Massachusetts and is an instructor for
Wilderness Medical Associates and writes the following:
• Prevention, Herbal & Diet: Take anti-motion sickness medication early before leaving
port. Start the trip well-hydrated and avoid any large quantity of alcohol. Eat a light meal.
Anecdotal reports favor eating carbohydrates rather than protein; however, there is no
conclusive study to favor any particular food or diet. Ginger is available in 500 mg.
capsules. The suggested dose is 1,000 mg. every six hours. The capsules can be
supplemented with gingersnap cookies, ginger ale, and candied ginger.
• Acupressure: Another modality that might help to prevent seasickness is acupressure.
The area to apply pressure is three finger breadths above the wrist joint between the two
prominent finger flexor tendons. Elastic wrist straps with buttons known as seasickness
bands are available for sailors to use. Some studies on their effectiveness are inconclusive
• Treatments: If symptoms progress despite these measures, it is time to go below deck.
Lie down in a secure well-ventilated bunk, face up, head still, then close your eyes and
try to sleep. Small amounts of water, crackers, or hard candy may also help. It may be the
time to take medication by other routes than solely oral. Twenty-five mg. phenegran (and
others) may be used as a rectal suppository.
Motion sickness arises when the brain receives conflicting signals from sensory organs about the
body’s orientation. Effective treatments are available to prevent its symptoms. Clinical studies
have identified the anticholinergic drug scopolamine as the most effective treatment to prevent
motion sickness. This prescription medication, available in both tablet and topical patch forms, is
particularly useful for people who suffer moderate to severe symptoms. Scopolamine tablets
provide 8 hours of travel comfort. The scopolamine patch dispenses a fixed dose of medication
over 72 hours. Over-the-counter remedies are useful for patients prone to develop mild cases of
motion sickness. Most of these medications are antihistamines, and dimenhydrinate appears to be
the most effective of this class. The use of nonpharmacologic remedies, such as ingesting ginger
supplements and applying acupressure to specific body locations is supported by promising, but
inconsistent data and awaits confirmation with controlled clinical studies.
Curriculum Vitae 1995-2002: Medical Doctor, Universiteit Gent, magna cum laude Principles of Electrocardiography (ECG), Universiteit Gent 2002-2003: Diplome of Tropical Medicine, Prins Leopold Instituut voor Tropische Basics of Statistical Inference, Universiteit Gent Laboratory Animal Scientist (FELASA Category C), Basic Course in Laboratory Animal Science, Universiteit Gent Diploma Go
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