Dimenhydrinate is used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. Dimenhydrinate is in a class of medications called antihistamines. It works by preventing problems with body balance.
Dimenhydrinate comes as a tablet and chewable tablet to take by mouth with or without food. To prevent motion sickness, the first dose should be taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before you travel or begin motion activity. Adults and children older than age 12 may usually take dimenhydrinate every 4 to 6 hours as needed to prevent or treat motion sickness. Children under age 12 may usually be given dimenhydrinate every 6 to 8 hours as needed to prevent or treat motion sickness. Follow the directions on the package carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take dimenhydrinate exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than directed by the package label.
Do not give dimenhydrinate to children younger than 2 years of age unless your doctor has told you to do so.
Dimenhydrinate is also sometimes used to treat Meniere's disease (condition of the inner ear which causes extreme dizziness, loss of balance, ringing in the ears, and hearing loss) and other inner ear problems. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Before taking dimenhydrinate,
- talk with your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dimenhydrinate or any other medications. If you are taking dimenhydrinate chewable tablets, talk to your doctor if you are allergic to tartrazine (FD&C Yellow No. 5, a color additive) or aspirin.
- talk with your doctor and pharmacist about what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: aminoglycoside antibiotics such as such as amikacin (Amikin), gentamicin (Garamycin), kanamycin (Kantrex), neomycin (Neo-Rx, Neo-Fradin), netilmicin (Netromycin), paromomycin (Humatin), streptomycin, and tobramycin (Tobi, Nebcin); antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil), amoxapine (Asendin), clomipramine (Anafranil), desipramine (Norpramin), doxepin (Adapin, Sinequan), imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Aventyl, Pamelor), protriptyline (Vivactil), and trimipramine (Surmontil); antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine; cough and cold medications; ipratropium (Atrovent); medications for anxiety, irritable bowel disease, mental illness, Parkinson's disease, seizures, ulcers, or urinary problems; narcotic or strong pain relievers or muscle relaxants; sedatives; sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- talk with your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma; shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, including chronic bronchitis (swelling of the air passages that lead to the lungs) or emphysema (damage to air sacs in the lungs); difficulty urinating due to enlargement of the prostate (male reproductive organ); glaucoma (an eye disease that can cause vision loss); or seizures.
- talk with your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking dimenhydrinate, call your doctor.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking dimenhydrinate.
- you should know that dimenhydrinate may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or participate in potentially dangerous activities until you know how this medication affects you.
- avoid alcoholic beverages or products containing alcohol while taking dimenhydrinate. Alcohol can make the side effects from dimenhydrinate worse.
- if you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent mental retardation), read the package label carefully before taking dimenhydrinate. Dimenhydrinate chewable tablets contain aspartame that forms phenylalanine.
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
This medication is usually taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take dimenhydrinate regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
Dimenhydrinate may cause side effects. Talk to your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- excitement or hyperactivity (especially in children)
- new or worsening dizziness
- blurred vision
- ringing in the ears
- dry mouth, nose, or throat
- problems with coordination
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience the following symptom, call your doctor immediately:
- fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat
Dimenhydrinate may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include:
- large pupils (black circles in the centers of the eyes)
- flushed face
- drowsiness or sleepiness
- excitation or hyperactivity
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- difficulty understanding reality
- difficulty speaking or swallowing
- unresponsiveness or coma (loss of consciousness for a period of time)
Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about dimenhydrinate.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.
Last Reviewed: September 1, 2010.