Uses for Dramamine
by Richard Daub
Uses for Dramamine
The most common use of Dramamine (the brand name of the drug dimenhydrinate) is for the prevention and treatment of motion sickness. However, there are a variety of other uses for this over-the-counter drug, which the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates works by correcting visual motion and balance-relation problems that may cause vomiting and nausea. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also indicates that dimenhydrinate is also sometimes used to help control vomiting during pregnancy.
A 1993 study titled "Effects of Dimenhydrinate on Gastric Tachyarrhythmia and Symptoms of Vection-Induced Motion Sickness" by Penn State University's Departments of Psychology and Medicine revealed that dimenhydrinate is effective for the treatment of motion sickness. Dimenhydrinate, the researchers found, works by inhibiting the peripheral responses of gastric tachyarrhythmia caused by conflicting visual stimuli. The study concluded that dimenhydrinate was successful in the suppression of this gastric tachyarrhythmia activity and depression of activity of the central nervous system caused by the stimuli and helped relieve the associated symptoms of motion sickness.
Dimenhydrinate has also been shown as an effective treatment of vertigo, which is a feeling of dizziness and imbalance that resembles the feeling of spinning despite being in a state of motionlessness. A study by the Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic at Otto-von-Guericke University in Magdeburg, Germany titled "Treatment of Vertebrobasilar Insufficiency-Associated Vertigo with a Fixed combination of Cinnarizine and Dimenhydrinate" revealed that patients treated with a combination of dimenhydrinate and cinnarizine showed significant improvement over those treated with a betahistine placebo. "The fixed combination proved to be statistically more effective than the common antivertiginous drug betahistine in reducing vertebrobasilar insufficiency-associated vertigo symptoms," the study concluded.
According to the CDC, dimenhydrinate is sometimes used to treat nausea during pregnancy. A 2007 study by the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Thammasat University in Pathumthani, Thailand compared the use of ginger and dimenhydrinate during pregnancy. The study, titled "A Randomized Comparison of Ginger and Dimenhydrinate in the Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting in Pregnancy," concluded that both were both equally effective in treating nausea, but that the ginger did not produce as many side effects as dimenhydrinate (with drowsiness being the most common side effect).
The NIH also indicates that dimenhydrinate is used to treat Meniere's disease, an inner ear condition that results in symptoms of dizziness, ringing in the ears, and loss of balance. A 2002 study by the Ear, Nose, and Throat Department at Masaryk University in the Czech Republic found that a combination of 20 mg cinnarizine and 40 mg dimenhydrinate "proved to be a highly efficient and safe treatment option for Meniere's disease and may be used both in the management of acute episodes and in long-term treatment."
According to a January 2009 study titled "Current Management of Vomiting After Tonsillectomy in Children" by the First Department of Anesthesiology at the Toho University School of Medicine in Tokyo, Japan, dimenhydrinate is sometimes used in the treatment of post-operative vomiting in children who have had tonsillectomies. The researchers found that antihistamines such as dimenhydrinate should be avoided because they are not entirely effective and also because of the risks involved with combining them with anesthetics and other substances and methods used before and after the procedure.