Meclizine is not a medication. It’s a chemical element. Various brands available for medicines containing meclizine. Such brand names are Dramamine, Sea Legs, Postafen, Antivert, Bonine and Bonamine.
Meclizine is listed as an antihistamine and is used for a broad range of symptoms of motion sickness including vomiting and nausea. Meclizine is also effective in relieving vertigo experienced as a result of inner ear infection.
Not all antihistamines can be used for this purpose. It was during initial trials that special properties of the compound were found and the drug has been used for this purpose since it was synthesized in the 50’s.
What Is Going To Be Discussed? Uses, Dosage, Side Effects, Interactions
What Is Meclizine?
Chemically, Meclizine HCl, USP is 1-(p-chloro-α-phenylbenzyl)-4-(m-methylbenzyl) piperazine dihydrochloride monohydrate.
Meclizine is pharmacologically classified as an antihistamine, commonly associated with use in the treatment of allergies. Combating the effects of histamine in the body, antihistamines are used widely for a wide variety of medical issues.
During initial trials carried out during the 1950s, developers discovered its usefulness in the treatment of vertigo. Not all antihistamines have the same effect.
Meclizine is not a drug but an ingredient and is available under the following brand names: Dramamine, Sea Legs, Postafen, Bonine, Bonamine, and Antivert (prescription-only drug).
Meclizine is also available under several other brand names, please check with your medical professional or pharmacist.
How Does Meclizine Work?
Meclizine has a depressant effect on the central nervous system and acts as a local anesthetic. Experts are not fully clear on its antivertigo effects but believe that Meclizine reduces vestibular stimulation, i.e. the part in the inner ear responsible for the vestibular disorder is less aggravated, hence symptoms may reduce.
The US Food and Drug Association (FDA) has approved Meclizine, and medical professionals recommend or prescribe the use of Meclizine in the treatment of the following conditions:
- Motion Sickness: Meclizine is suitable for use in the treatment of vomiting and nausea associated with motion sickness. It is, therefore, a popular travel sickness treatment drug. Professionals recommend taking Meclizine one hour before traveling.
- Vertigo and Vestibular Disorders: Disorders of the inner ear can lead to symptoms such as dizziness and spinning sensations. Some medical professionals prescribe Meclizine for people suffering from vertigo. The drug may reduce the symptoms thereof. Because of Meclizine’s local anesthetic effects and its depressant effect on the central nervous system, the fine hair located in the inner ear receives less stimulation. As a result, dizziness and nausea symptoms are thought to be reduced.
Meclizine should not be administered to children under the age of 12 or to individuals aged 65 or over, please also check the Precautions section of this article.
Dosage – How You Should Take Meclizine
Meclizine is chewable and should be chewed fully before swallowing. Generally, professionals recommend the following dosages:
- Use for Motion Sickness: Take Meclizine one hour before setting off. If you are traveling for several days, you may take 1 dose for every 24-hour period. 1 standard adult dose is 25 to 50 mg.
- Use for Vertigo: Your doctor may recommend taking Meclizine several times a day. Make sure to follow her/his instructions. 1 standard adult dose is between 25 and 100 mg.
If you miss a dose and remember it shortly after you were due to take it, proceed to take it. If it is nearly time for the next dose, don’t make up for the missed dose. If you exceed the prescribed dosage, contact your doctor immediately.
Meclizine may cause drowsiness (please check Side Effects section of this article) and if you are driving after taking Meclizine, make sure to proceed with caution. Alcohol may compound the drowsiness and side effects of Meclizine.
Make sure to tell your doctor if you are suffering from one of the following illnesses:
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Urinary disorders
- Enlarged prostate
Give your doctor your full medical history before proceeding to take Meclizine.
Some doctors do not prescribe Meclizine to people aged 65 or over because it may produce an increased effect of dementia and amnesia and lead to greater confusion.
- Dry Mouth – this is a common side effect of many medicines and is an irritating rather than life affecting symptom. You can alleviate the symptom by sucking sweets or ice.
- Drowsiness – this can occur while taking meclizine and as a result, it is not recommended the person taking the drug drinks alcohol. Drinking alcohol should not react negatively with the drug but may cause the drowsiness to become even more extreme. The person taking the medication should also avoid operating any heavy machinery during the course.
- Dementia symptoms exacerbated – Meclizine can aggravate dementia symptoms by causing confusion. Your GP will consider this before prescribing the drug.
Some people are allergic to Meclizine. Contact your doctor immediately, if you experience one of the following:
- Breathing difficulties
- Skin hives or rashes
- Swelling of tongue, face, throat or lips
- Fast heartbeat
- Tightness in the chest
Interactions with Other Drugs, Food, and Diseases
Meclizine is known to interact with over 600 other drugs. Consequently, it is absolutely crucial to tell your doctor what medication you are taking. Some of the interactions are serious, while others less severe.
The 611 interactions can be divided into the following three groups:
- 18 Serious drug interactions
- 588 Moderate drug interactions
- 5 Minor drug interactions
Alcohol is likely to heighten the side effects. Meclizine may also interact with food supplements, vitamins, and herbal remedies. Consequently, you should inform your doctor about your alcohol consumption and your intake of food supplements etc.
If you are suffering from one of the conditions listed below, you may not be able to take Meclizine. This applies particularly to the following for diseases:
- Glaucoma, Urinary Retention, Gastrointestinal Obstruction: Meclizine is an antihistamine and may not be suitable for use for everybody. If you are suffering from any of the listed diseases, your doctor may not prescribe Meclizine.
- Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: The anticholinergic effects of antihistamines may negatively impact on people suffering from asthma or COPD. Please consult your doctor if you are a sufferer.
- Cardiovascular Disease: Antihistamines may also impact on those suffering from heart disease. Inform you doctor and ask for her/his advice.
- Renal or Liver Disease: As an antihistamine, Meclizine may not be suitable for you if you are suffering from renal or liver disease. It’s best to talk to your medical professional and find out more.
Most importantly, tell your doctor your complete medical history and inform her/him about all the medication and supplements you are taking. Also, outline your lifestyle habits to give him a complete insight into your physical health. She/he will then be able to determine whether Meclizine is suitable for you.
- Motion sickness (34 reviews) rating: 8.8
- Nausea and Vomiting (7 reviews) rating: 7.9
- Vertigo (94 reviews) rating 7.2
Among those who took Meclizine for motion sickness, most people found the drug to be very effective, with only a handful of people getting no relief or experiencing adverse effects.
Those who took Meclizine to deal with nausea and vomiting scored it high, with just one or two individuals posting negative reviews. Most individuals gave Meclizine a 9 or 10 rating.
The reviews of those who took Meclizine to treat vertigo symptoms were very mixed. While many awarded 8, 9 or 10 stars, some gave it a 5-rating, while a small number of people experience no relief whatsoever or indeed suffered side effects and gave Meclizine a 1-rating.
Sometimes people can find their lives completely changed by using Meclizine. Often people suffer from motion sickness and think their GP or practitioner will dismiss their symptoms. This is usually because motion sickness is considered a problem only children have and eventually grow out of. Meclizine can be a very effective treatment for those who struggle with specific types of travel. The people in the video (seen here) are more than happy about Meclizine enabling them to travel on water!
If you have been prescribed Meclizine or want to know more about other users experiences there is lots of feedback where users describe their experiences and how Meclizine affected them.
If you have been prescribed the drug and feel you need further information on dosage or timing when to take the drugs you should consult a pharmacist who can fully advise you on how best to take the medicine.
These reviews are purely subjective and not in any way scientific. The reactions vary from person to person as the drug suits some but not others. The overall rating suggests that Meclizine is effective in the treatment of all three conditions, just not for everyone.
Medical Research Into The Benefits Of Using Meclizine For Vestibular Disorders
One study suggested that 90% of people in primary care suffering from dizziness were given Meclizine before being diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
Another study found that in the general population, only 31% of people suffering from vertigo found it to be effective.
The Physician’s Desk found that Meclizine is effective when managing vestibular disorders and the symptoms thereof. However, they believe it to be unsuitable to deal with unsteadiness, disequilibrium, loss of balance, or light-headedness.
Generally, experts believe that Meclizine is suitable for use in the acute initial phase of dizziness because it lessens the symptoms. However, medics have also discovered that prolonged use can be counter-productive. Suppressing symptoms may prevent the brain from becoming aware of the existing asymmetry. They recommend a treatment aimed at promoting central compensation instead.
Experts also found that many people experiencing dizziness weren’t suffering from a vestibular disorder and concluded that prescribing Meclizine in such incidents would be counter-productive.
Nevertheless, in a double-blind study into the benefits of Meclizine in 1972, most people experienced relief from vertigo symptoms. In contrast, no study has indicated that Meclizine eased light-headedness or imbalance.
Study Into The Negative Effects Of Meclizine
A Kennedy et al study found no major negative psychomotor effects when the drug was administered to a group of healthy young adults alongside a placebo. Nonetheless, participants had some difficulty balancing on a beam after taking Meclizine.
Meclizine’s impact on the central nervous system was examined by Manning et al. They found that adequately administered Meclizine caused drowsiness, while also producing reduced mental performance when compared with the effects of a placebo.
Manning et al also compared the effects of Meclizine to that of alcohol and found them to be similar. Blood alcohol levels were between 0.04% and 0.06%.
In recent times, experts have compared the benefits of medication and vestibular therapy to examine their impact on patient’s posture control.
One group was administered Valium or Meclizine, while the other group was engaged in physical therapy. Both groups experienced a lessening of symptoms, however, only the group involved in physical therapy demonstrated improved posture.
Horak et al concluded that sedative medication may counteract physical vestibular therapy. Shepard et al found that those taking vestibular suppressant, antidepressant, sedatives, etc. also achieved results from physical therapy, however, only after a much longer period.
Acute symptoms experienced during the initial 3-5 days could indeed be eased, however, prolonged use may slow down the overall recovery.
Meclizine is one of the most commonly used drugs in the treatment of motion sickness, nausea, vomiting, and vertigo.
If you are suffering from these conditions, discuss taking Meclizine with your physician who will be able to determine whether taking Meclizine could benefit you.
If you are suffering from vertigo, you may get significant relief from symptoms but again, we advise discussing all the treatment options with your doctor.
Make sure to inform her/him of all your symptoms and medical history.
Judging from the reviews, Meclizine benefits most people, though the side effects can be quite severe.
Never choose a medication without consulting a doctor first.