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Looking for motion sickness medication recommendations

I usually take a 25 mg tablet of Meclizine HCl to prevent motion sickness, not least because the package label claims this is the 'less drowsy formula' and is 'pharmacist recommended' but as I grow older I'm finding that it is making me noticeably drowsier than I used to get in years past.

And when I combine it with a tasty alcoholic beverage it becomes a bad idea to drive or even engage in a twisty discussion.

What is working for you in the way of motion sickness medication?

Ideally there would be something that would last all day, for long flights for example, and something else that would be good for a few hours that would get me over the mountains and to my next lodging, or across the water to the ferry dock.

Posted by
3789 posts

Have you tried sea bands and said no to the alcoholic beverages 😁

Posted by
13691 posts

Maria, did you mean Sea-Bands (or similar) instead of TheraBands? I thought the latter were mostly for strength/balance/flexibility training? Anyway, had high hopes for Sea-Bands but they didn't work for me at all. 🤢

Posted by
65 posts

Sea bands are a life changer for me. I have had motion sickness all of my life and they are amazing. They only work though IF you place them in the correct spot, the dot (ball) needs to be placed two finger widths up from your palm (directions on the package). I make sure that I have several pairs with me when I travel (in the car/bus they are fantastic for winding roads, and boats for choppy waters).

Posted by
1851 posts

I have used scopolamine (behind the ear patch)in the past. It works well for me most of the time.

Posted by
808 posts

One thing that makes a big difference for me is to keep my sinuses clear. If not it affects my middle ear and I can get motion sick standing on dry land. Before any trip I make sure to stay hydrated, clear out the crud with saline spray and use my allergy meds (Zyrtec and flonase).

Posted by
1781 posts

Hi avrose, Seabands worked great for me. I used them on two cruises in Norway. I put them on the morning we boarded the ship and kept them on for the duration of the trip (except when showering of course).

I added Bonine (like Dramamine), the non-drowsy formula, when we did excursions on small boats. I was fine while standing up but the minute I sat down I fell asleep. I didn’t drink alcohol while taking the pills.

I didn’t get seasick and I attribute that mostly to the Seabands. They’re inexpensive so not much of a gamble. Bonus, you can drink while using them!!

PS, I have a friend who is experiencing vertigo and her doctor told her to wear Seabands around the house. She said they helped.

Posted by
13691 posts

Dang. I'm so jealous that the bands worked for so many of you! Believe me, I tried multiple different, supposedly correct positions but no go.

Posted by
2412 posts

My wife uses Sea bands on cruise ships and airplanes. She says Ginger pills are useful too.

Posted by
303 posts

I can sympathize as I also get motion sickness. Original Dramamine works best for me, but it makes me drowsy also. Sometimes I just take half a pill if I think I can get away with it, and that helps me not feel as tired. I’ve also had good luck with the scopolamine patch and taking Chimes brand ginger chews with me. This combination allowed me to go on a boat trip in Hawaii, and I was able to enjoy it instead of turning green. Unfortunately the Sea Bands do nothing for me. I hope you find something that works!

Posted by
3789 posts

@Kathy...did you see the time I posted? haha I knew when I was typing (before coffee) that something seemed 'off'. Thanks for the correction :-)

Posted by
3346 posts

Sea bands didn't work for me either. And while the scopolomine patch worked, it gave me horrible side effects. Interestingly, ship doctors will NOT prescribe them, so that should tell you something. Regular dramamine (Gravol in Canada) makes me very drowsy. A great sleep aid.

I'm very susceptible to motion sickness, but Meclizine has worked like a charm, without side effects for me. The trick I learned from other cruisers is to take it at bedtime. Since it works for 24 hours, you're still covered the next day; but you're sleeping during the period when you would most likely be drowsy. And I can still enjoy a few adult beverages.

Posted by
1583 posts

If Meclizine HCL makes you drowsy just drink a cup of coffee or some other caffeinated drink. Also, Meclizine is sold under different names, one being Bonine. Meclizine is generic and much cheaper.

Posted by
13691 posts

🤣 Maria! And here I was sort of hoping you'd found a remedy for a touchy stomach that I hadn't tried yet!

Posted by
5 posts

I've never found any help with seabands - either sailing or traveling.

Bonine has worked beautifully for me in both instances, including very choppy seas, bumpy flights and mountain roads. I've been using it for many years and never drowsy - which is a first for me as even Tylenol can put me to sleep!

For air travel, I take it immediately as I get on the plane and it's effective at takeoff and I'm good for the full flight. Last time was almost an 11 hour flight and all was well throughout. I do Not drink alcohol when taking them, it completely cancels out the effectiveness and makes me drowsy. I also use ginger but for a long flight I don't rely on that alone - don't want to take the chance. For short flights or a rough ferry it seems to be adequate.

Posted by
3789 posts

As it is an antihistamine, if you aren't taking them daily, they are bound to hit you a bit. As CJean mentions, starting it at bedtime may work with the time release, as I think these tend to do. I do this when I am on hay fever antihistamines intermittently and it does seem to help.

Posted by
152 posts

As a long time sailor, I have some thoughts.
1. Sea Bands; Sometimes the placebo effect is all it takes
2. Scopolamine; I have seen it work for a lot of people. My advice would be to try it first at home to see if side effect will be an issue
3. Meclizine (Bonine); start it a day before you go as it take a while to kick in. If taken too late will just come up with everything else
4. Dramamine; similar to meclizine but not as effective.
5. Sturgeron; Not available in the US, but British sailors swear by it. I would buy it where available (Bermuda, BVI's etc) and bring it back for friends.
I have never been on a cruise ship so I do not know how problematic that motion may be. On my boats boat I have encouraged seasick landlubbers to take the helm and look at the horizon. Doubt the captain of the cruise ship will so oblige you.

For what it is worth, most people get over it in a day or so.

Posted by
1888 posts

There's a version of Gravol that has ginger in it that is supposed to be non drowsy.
I think you can get it in the US.

Posted by
3789 posts

As it seems to have missed some, your motion sickness isn't just 'sea' sickness....so I would not recommend a scolpamine patch for prolonged wear as it can have adverse affects when you aren't in motion. And it goes without saying any solution needs to be trialed - by you - prior to travel.

Posted by
290 posts

Another level up from the Sea Bands recommended by others would be Reliefbands. These are not cheap, but can be purchased with HSA funds if you have one, and are FDA approved. My spouse uses one for extreme seasickness when sailing and described the feeling as being odd, like being "zapped," but that it fades into the background over time. He uses his in conjunction with scopolamine patches, which I don't think I'd recommend for motion sickness that isn't too intense. However, apparently some folks find the Reliefband to be enough on its own.

Posted by
199 posts

Sea bands are all my daughter uses and she has been car sick since she wasn't even 1 year old. Took a while to figure it out when a baby can't tell you what is wrong. She is plane, train, boat, car- all things motion -sick. As a child any medication would put her to sleep regardless of whether it was non drowsy. Please note the bands will get stretched out and they stop working (you don't notice any difference in the size of it), it doesn't mean your body doesn't react to it anymore, you just need a new pair of them. I hope you find something that works. We even take a back up set to Europe because a 12 hour flight is not a good place to have a failure.

Posted by
77 posts

I've used Bonine for severe instances (but it makes me super drowsy). However, the game changer for me was raw ginger. It's definitely not easy to take in large amounts, but it really settled me down quickly. I also came across chewable Gravol with ginger when I was in Canada, which helped as well.

Posted by
1954 posts

I appreciate hearing what's working for you - thanks for the replies.
I'll take them into account, and maybe I'll also circle back around to good ol' dimenhydrinate to see how my body tolerates it now.

Regarding Meclizine (Bonine, etc.) it would be terrific if the label on the package had some kind of a warning like
• alcohol may increase drowsiness
or even
• drowsiness may occur
•use caution when driving a motor vehicle
and maybe
•avoid alcoholic beverages

but that kind of labelling might be a limit on our freedoms.
[ /s and ;-P are sarcasm markers ]
or as my dad used to say, "I'll drink to that!"

Posted by
3346 posts

Avirosemail- I just grabbed my pack of Bonine. On the back of the package it includes this (amongst other things):
-you may get drowsy -avoid alcoholic drinks -be careful when driving or operating machinery - alcohol,sedatives and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness.

It markets itself as LESS drowsy, not Nondrowsy. It's too bad that it affects you that way.

Posted by
509 posts

I too have never had good results using the bands. I used Dramamine for several years with okay results. Then someone told me about Bonine. Much, much better. I have serious problems with motion sickness of all kinds; back seat of a car, riding backwards on a train. Sometimes it even bothers me to ride in the front seat of the car if the road is really curvy. Bonine does the trick.

Posted by
93 posts

My husband has motion sickness. He has a watch which he's had for years and can dial up the impulse depending on how he feels to ease symptoms. He also uses Hyland's Motion Sickness tabs which he takes sublingually before a flight or ride. They are homeopathic and he likes them because they don't have side effects. He also has ginger tabs and recently got an RX. for scopolamine patches. Not sure he will use them, but he has them. Not all have worked all the time but he has the tools he needs.