Posted: 06/03/2016

What to Know about OTC Drugs for Nausea?

Bismuth_nausea_drug

When you suddenly become nauseated, that queasy feeling can completely derail you, so it’s no surprise that many of us reach for over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to help combat nausea—or prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Anti-nausea medications, also known as antiemetics, are readily available at most pharmacies and grocery stores, and many can be purchased without a prescription. These include:

• Bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate), which is believed to work by reducing irritation of your stomach and intestinal lining

• Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), an antihistamine that treats motion sickness-related nausea by reducing the inner ear’s ability to sense motion

• Meclizine (Antivert, Bonine), another antihistamine that relieves nausea and dizziness caused by motion sickness

While you can get these medicines over the counter, you should still exercise the same precautions you would when taking a prescription medication. Below, we’ve provided some tips for taking antiemetics safely. This is not intended to take the place of a healthcare provider’s advice, and you should always talk to your doctor if you have questions about taking anti-nausea drugs.


OTC Antiemetics Brands Are Some of the Most Recognizable Brands

Precautions When Taking OTC Antiemetics
While you don’t need a doctor’s written permission to get an over-the-counter anti-nausea drug, you should talk to your doctor about taking an antiemetic if you have any health conditions that you think could be masked or exacerbated. Medical conditions that you should discuss with your doctor include high blood pressure, heart disease, thyroid disease, glaucoma, enlarged prostate, asthma, emphysema, or chronic bronchitis.

If you’re currently taking any prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor to make sure there won’t be any harmful interactions with your antiemetic. Bismuth subsalicylate may interact with blood thinners and certain medications for diabetes, arthritis, and gout. Antihistamines like dimenhydrinate and meclizine may interact with muscle relaxants, sleeping pills, and other sedatives. Taking OTC cold or allergy medicines that contain an antihistamine at the same time you’re taking an anti-nausea drug may also be harmful, since you can accidentally end up taking more than the recommended daily amount of antihistamine.

If you and your doctor have determined that it is safe for you to use an anti-nausea drug, follow the instructions on the drug’s label carefully. Don’t exceed the recommended dosage—taking more of the drug won’t necessarily make it work any faster or better, and it may increase your risk for side effects. If you have questions about the recommended dosage, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

To make sure your anti-nausea medication doesn’t lose its effectiveness before its expiration date, store it in a cool, dry place. Although it might seem like a bathroom medicine cabinet is a logical place to keep your over-the-counter drugs, the heat and humidity in your bathroom may cause the medication to become less effective.

As with all medications, prescription or otherwise, you should store your anti-nausea drugs out of reach of any children in your home. 

By HelpRx Staff Writer

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About the HelpRx.info Blog

HelpRx.info is staffed by experts in the prescription medication industry. Get the latest health, medical news and pharmaceutical news that can save you money and allow you to take charge of your healthcare. With frequent updates about the prescription drug industry as well as medicine news, you'll gain an insider look into the industry and learn more about how to get the best price on your prescriptions while not sacrificing quality. Subscribe to the HelpRx.info pharmacy blog through our RSS feed or get updates by liking HelpRx.info on Facebook and following HelpRx.info on Twitter.

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Our discounts provide you access to negotiated prices on your prescription drugs at your local pharmacy. We can provide these because we're partnered with OptumRx, a BIG pharmacy benefit provider that provides prescription coverage for MILLIONS of people like you.

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