Last Updated on February 8, 2024
Dimenhydrinate is a popular medication used for the treatment of motion sickness and nausea. It is a combination of two drugs, diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline, which work together to reduce symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting, and nausea. While this medication is available as a prescription drug, it is also possible to buy dimenhydrinate over the counter in the UK.
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One of the most common places to find dimenhydrinate over the counter is at your local pharmacy. There are many different types of pharmacies in the UK, including large chains like Boots and Superdrug, as well as smaller independent pharmacies. You can simply walk into any pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for dimenhydrinate, and they will be able to advise you on the best product for your needs. Some of the most popular brands of dimenhydrinate include Dramamine, Gravol, and Travel Calm.
What is imenhydrinate?
Dimenhydrinate is one of the most commonly used drugs to treat nausea and vomiting caused by travel (sea or motion sickness). The most common side effects are tiredness and drowsiness. Find out all you need to know about Dimenhydrinate: uses, effects, interactions and side effects.
How does dimenhydrinate work?
Dimenhydrinate is an antiemetic, a medicine to stop nausea and vomiting. Chemically speaking, it is the combination of two separate particles: Diphenhydramine and chlorotheophylline. The latter (similar to caffeine) has been added as a mild stimulant to alleviate the fatigue commonly encountered after administration of diphenhydramine. It is diphenhydramine that has the real effect against motion sickness.
The brain continuously gathers information from the environment using different sensory organs. Developmentally very old brain functions often come together in the brain stem, as does the evaluation of the body’s position in space and its movement. For example, if you are sitting in a car, but the brain sees movement, the inner ear senses no acceleration at a constant speed, and the muscles report no movement. This conflicting information causes the brain stem to activate an alarm programme, which manifests itself in discomfort, nausea and dizziness.
The active ingredient, dimenhydrinate, travels through the bloodstream to a region at the back of the brain stem called the area postrema. There are many docking stations for neurotransmitters (including acetylcholine and histamine) and toxins from the blood that cause nausea and vomiting. Dimenhydrinate blocks this docking and so mediates its effect, which relieves nausea and vomiting.
After ingestion, dimenhydrinate passes through the intestines into the bloodstream. After an active period of three to six hours, it is broken down by the liver and excreted by the kidneys in the urine.
When is dimenhydrinate used?
The active ingredient dimenhydrinate is used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting of various origins, but especially when approved. It is not suitable for the treatment of nausea caused by chemotherapy.
Non-prescription use should be limited to just before and during travel.
How dimenhydrinate is taken?
Dimenhydrinate is taken by mouth as tablets or chewing gum. A single dose usually contains 50 milligrams of dimenhydrinate. One tablet or chewing gum is taken half an hour before departure and then up to three times a day. If nausea or vomiting occurs during the journey, take one or two tablets every four hours, but not more than six tablets (equivalent to 300 mg of dimenhydrinate) a day. If you take larger amounts of the medicine this can lead to vomiting. This is why it is also called “dimenhydrinate drug”, but only from doses above 400 milligrams.
What are the side effects of dimenhydrinate?
Taking dimenhydrinate also causes many people with motion sickness to feel tired and drowsy, but this effect is sometimes desirable.
One hundred to one thousand patients also experience side effects such as restlessness, agitation, agitated or exuberant mood, movement disorders, dizziness, convulsions, urinary problems, blurred vision and allergic reactions with skin rashes and itching. If you experience allergic symptoms you should stop taking this medicine.
What should I watch for while taking dimenhydrinate?
Co-administration with other agents, even at different times, may lead to interactions.
The depressant or stimulant effect may be increased if dimenhydrinate is taken together with centrally acting drugs (psychiatric drugs) or alcohol.
Antihypertensive drugs may be more effective when dimenhydrinate is also taken. The use of dimenhydrinate should be discussed with your doctor.
Dimenhydrinate weakens the effect of anticoagulants such as heparin and the anti-inflammatory effect of glucocorticoids (“cortisone”).
A reduced dose of dimenhydrinate may be used in children as young as six years of age. Older patients may be treated with dimenhydrinate unless they have high intraocular pressure (glaucoma), epilepsy or an enlarged prostate. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take dimenhydrinate.
How to get dimenhydrinate?
Preparations containing dimenhydrinate for ingestion (such as tablets, chewing gum and delayed-release capsules) and suppositories are subject to prescription only.
Preparations for injection are available on prescription. The same applies to combination products with prescription medicines.
How long has dimenhydrinate been on the market?
In the 1940s, anti-allergic agents (antihistamines) came on the market, but they all had severe fatigue as a side effect. The combination of diphenhydramine and chlorotheophylline by the US pharmaceutical company GD Searle and Company was the first formulation to reduce fatigue. In the first tests on patients with hives were discovered by chance that Dimenhydrinate help against motion sickness. By the end of the 1940s, the new drug with the active ingredient dimenhydrinate was on the market in the UK, the US and Germany.