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Cinnarizine

Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read
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Cinnarizine is a drowsy antihistamine used to treat travel sickness (also known as motion sickness). It is suitable for adults and children aged five and above. This product is not FDA-approved in the US. Dimenhydrinate (Dramamine, Bonine) is commonly used in the US for motion sickness and is available to buy over-the-counter.

Cinnarizine is available as a tablet. It can be sucked, chewed, or swallowed whole with a glass of water. It is best to take cinnarizine after eating something to keep it from upsetting your stomach.

Travel sickness

Travel sickness occurs when your brain receives conflicting information from your different balance senses, causing nerve signals to activate the vomiting center in your brain. Cinnarizine works by blocking histamine receptors in the vomiting center. As a result, fewer nerve signals can activate it. You can take cinnarizine before traveling by car, boat, plane, or train to prevent travel sickness. Adults and children aged twelve and above can take two tablets two hours before they travel, then one tablet every eight hours during the journey if required. Children aged five to eleven can take one tablet two hours before they travel, then half a tablet every eight hours during the journey if required.

Balance disorders

Symptoms of balance disorders can include feeling sick (nausea), being sick, dizziness, vertigo, and ringing in the ears. The antihistamine effect of cinnarizine can help relieve many of these symptoms. Cinnarizine also acts as a calcium channel blocker, helping improve blood flow in the inner ear to further relieve symptoms. Adults and children aged twelve and above can take two tablets three times a day. Children aged five to eleven can take one tablet three times a day.

Who should not take the medication?

You should not take cinnarizine if you are allergic to it or another ingredient listed in the medicine. Do not give cinnarizine to children under five.

You should speak with your doctor before taking cinnarizine if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, soon to have an allergy skin test, or intolerant to certain sugars like fructose or galactose. You should also speak with your doctor before taking cinnarizine if you have any serious medical conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, liver or kidney problems, glaucoma, epilepsy, or a rare genetic blood disorder called porphyria.

Cinnarizine can interact with other medications, including betahistine, dalteparin, and medications that can cause drowsiness. If you take any prescription, over-the-counter or herbal medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist to check if they are safe to take alongside cinnarizine.

Are there any side effects?

As with all medications, some people may experience side effects. These can include drowsiness, headache, stomach upset, dry mouth, and weight gain. If you experience drowsiness, you should avoid driving and drinking alcohol. If any side effects become bothersome, you should speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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