Scopolamine works by restoring the balance of natural substances norepinephrine and acetylcholine that may be upset in motion sickness, as well as by blocking some signals to your brain that may cause vomiting and nausea.
Motion sickness happens quite often. It can happen when you travel by road, rail, air, or water. It’s especially common in kids. It’s caused by frequent unusual motions of the head. Motions like going around corners or over bumps send plenty of messages to the brain. The balance systems in the inner ear receive different signals to what your eyes see. This sends confusing messages to your brain, making you nauseous (having a feeling of sickness). Scopolamine prevents the confusing messages from being sent to your brain.
Scopolamine comes in the form of a skin patch known as Transderm Scop for adult use. The patch is stuck on the skin behind the ear four hours before a journey and then removed when the journey ends. Transderm Scop releases Scopolamine through the skin and into the bloodstream.
Scopolamine is also used for preventing vomiting and nausea that may occur post-surgery and when opiate painkillers or anesthetics have been used. Scopolamine should be used 24 hours before surgery and taken off 24 hours post-surgery.
One of the common effects of this skin patch is that it brings on a dry mouth. Sometimes it’s prescribed by doctors for this purpose, instead of preventing nausea.
Before using Scopolamine:
Some medications aren’t suitable for persons with certain medical conditions, and at times a medication may be used only if extra caution is observed. Therefore, before you start using Scopolamine, it’s vital to let your physician know the following:
- If you’re breastfeeding or pregnant
- If you’re not feeling well and have fever
- If you have problems of the digestive system such as diarrhea, reflux disease, or ulcerative colitis
- If you have glaucoma (an eye condition)
- If you have kidney, liver, or prostate gland problems
- If you have had seizures (fits) in the past or have epilepsy
- If you have myasthenia gravis (a condition triggering muscle weakness)
- If you have Down’s syndrome
- If you’re using other medications (nonprescription, complementary, herbal)
- If you’ve ever had an allergy to a medicine
- Motion sickness
- Nausea and vomiting post-surgery
- Motion sickness prevention
Type of Medicine
In addition to its needed effects, Scopolamine transdermal may bring on some adverse effects. Of course, not all of the following effects may occur, but if they happen they may require treatment.
See your physician promptly if you experience any of these effects:
- Chest pain/discomfort
- Blurred vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dilation of pupils
- Difficult urination
- Eye pain
- Dizziness/faintness/lightheadedness when standing up suddenly
- Muscle weakness
- Redness or flushing of skin
- Mood/mental changes
- Redness of whites of the eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling, hearing, or seeing things that aren’t there
- Irregular/slow heartbeat
- Unusually warm skin
- Unusual tiredness
Get emergency assistance right away should any of these overdose symptoms occur:
- Loss of vision or blurred vision
- Dry mouth
- Change in consciousness
- Dry, flushed skin
- Double vision
- Reduction in urine amount
- Reduction in urination frequency
- Dribbling (difficulty with passing urine)
- Fast, irregular, or pounding pulse or heartbeat
- Disturbed color perception
- Halos around lights
- Night blindness
- Loss of consciousness
- Painful urination
- Trouble with sleeping
- Pounding in ears
- Tunnel vision
- Extremely bright appearance of lights
- Unusual drowsiness, tiredness, weakness, dullness, or sluggishness
Other Scopolamine side effects not listed above can occur in some people. If you feel any other effects, see your healthcare professional immediately. You can also inform the FDA about your side effects at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Use Scopolamine exactly as instructed by your physician. Don’t use it in smaller or larger quantities or for longer than instructed. Follow the directions printed on the label.
- Apply Scopolamine skin patch to a hairless skin area just behind the ear.
- Wear only one patch per time. Don’t tear or cut the patch.
- To prevent motion sickness, apply the skin patch at least four hours before you’re exposed to what can cause motion sickness.
- To prevent vomiting and nausea after surgery, apply the patch the night before surgery. Wear the patch for one day after surgery and then discard it.
- If the patch falls off, get a new one to replace it.
- You can wear one patch for up to three days. If you need a patch for longer than three 3 days, take off the patch and replace it with a new one just behind the other ear.
- After taking off a patch, carefully fold it and discard it where your children and pets can’t reach it.
- Always clean your hands with water and soap after handling Scopolamine, whether you’re applying the skin patch or taking it off. To ensure there aren’t traces of Scopolamine left on the skin after removing a patch, wash the area behind the ear where you wore the patch. Use water and soap and then dry well.
- You may experience withdrawal symptoms like vomiting, nausea, headache, severe dizziness, and muscle weakness when you stop applying Scopolamine. Ask your healthcare professional how to prevent these symptoms when you cease using this medicine.
- If you’re pregnant and are applying Scopolamine before a Cesarean section, you can apply the skin patch an hour prior to your scheduled operation.
- This medication can make you have incorrect results with some medical tests. Let any doctor treating you know that you’re using Scopolamine.
- If you apply Scopolamine transdermal patch while having an MRI, it could burn your skin. Take off the patch before having such a test.
- Since Scopolamine transdermal patch is used only when needed, you may not follow a dosing schedule.
- If you’ve forgotten to apply the medication as instructed before surgery, call up your doctor for directions. Don’t apply extra patches to compensate for applying the patch later than directed.
This medication patch can be hazardous if swallowed or chewed. If someone you know has overdosed on Scopolamine, take the patch off if possible. Please call 911 for serious symptoms like troubled breathing or passing out. Otherwise, call up a poison control agency immediately. Symptoms of overdose can include severe drowsiness, mood/mental changes (hallucinations, confusion), hot or dry skin, fast or irregular heartbeat, and seizures.
Medication interactions might alter how your medicines work or up your risk for very serious side effects. This section doesn’t cover all the possible interactions with Scopolamine. List all of the medicinal products you’re using now (such as prescription/nonprescription drugs, herbal products, nutritional supplements) and give your pharmacist and doctor this list. Please consult with your doctor first before you start, stop, or alter the dose of any medications.
Some products that could interact with Scopolamine include pramlintide, and potassium tablets or capsules.
Tell your doctor as well as pharmacist if you’re using other substances that bring on drowsiness, such as marijuana, narcotic pain relievers (like codeine), muscle relaxants, medications for anxiety or sleep (such as diazepam, zolpidem, alprazolam), and antihistamines (e.g. diphenhydramine, cetirizine).
Check all of your medication labels (such as cough and cold or allergy medications) as they may have ingredients that bring on drowsiness. Consult your pharmacist about the safe use of those products.
This medicine may affect certain lab tests (including gastric secretion test), potentially resulting in false results. Make sure all your doctors and lab personnel know you’re using Scopolamine transdermal patch.
Scopolamine slows down the digestive system, potentially making it more difficult for the body to absorb medications you take orally. If any of the medications you take orally doesn’t seem to work effectively while you use Scopolamine transdermal, tell your doctor.
This list of Scopolamine interactions isn’t complete and other medications could interact with Scopolamine. Let your healthcare professional know about all medicines you’re using. Don’t start taking a new medicine without your physician’s approval.
Before using Scopolamine, let your pharmacist, as well as doctor, know if you have allergies to it or other belladonna alkaloids like atropine. Also, report any other allergies you may have. Scopolamine transdermal patch may have inactive ingredients, which might cause allergies or other conditions. For more details, speak to your pharmacist.
Before using Scopolamine, tell your doctor/pharmacist your medical past, especially of:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Stomach or esophagus or intestine problems (e.g. blockage, ulcers, GERD)
- Breathing problems (e.g. emphysema, asthma)
- Family or personal history of angle-closure glaucoma
- Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Difficult urination (e.g. because of enlarged prostate)
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Mental/mood disorders (e.g. anxiety, psychosis)
- Uncontrolled pain
- Myasthenia gravis
This medication can make you drowsy or dizzy or blur your eyesight. Taking alcohol or marijuana may make you even more drowsy or dizzy. Don’t use machinery, drive a car, take part in underwater sports, or do any task that requires clear vision or alertness unless you can safely do it. Avoid all sorts of alcoholic drinks. If you’re using marijuana, speak to your doctor.
Before having surgery, inform your dentist or doctor about all products you’re using (such as herbal products, prescription and nonprescription medicines).
If you’re going to take an MRI exam, tell the testing staff that you’re using Scopolamine transdermal. Some patches may have metals that may cause severe burns while you’re having an MRI test. Ask your physician whether you’ll need to take off your patch before the MRI and apply a new one afterwards, as well as how to do that properly.
This medication can decrease your ability to sweat, making you very likely to suffer heat stroke. Don’t do things that could make you overheat, like using hot tubs, exercising, or working hard in hot weather. When it’s hot out there, dress light and take lots of fluids. If you overheat, immediately find somewhere you can cool down and relax. Get medical assistance promptly if you suffer a persistent fever, have dizziness or a headache, or experience mental or mood changes.
You can prevent motion sickness by doing the following things:
- Breathing slowly and deeply while you’re listening to music
- Taking breaks regularly during your journey to take some cold water and get some fresh air
- Sitting with the head tilted rather backward or looking out of the window
Older people are more susceptible to the effects of Scopolamine transdermal, especially drowsiness and dizziness.
During pregnancy, Scopolamine should only be applied when clearly needed. Talk about its benefits and risks with your physician.
Scopolamine transdermal is released in human milk. Please consult your physician before breastfeeding.
- Keep Scopolamine at room temperature.
- Don’t store Scopolamine in the bathroom.
- Keep all medicines away from pets and kids.
- Don’t flush Scopolamine down your lavatory or pour it into the drain unless directed to do so.
- Get rid of Scopolamine properly when you no longer use it or it’s expired.
- Consult your local garbage disposal firm or pharmacist about how to properly discard this medication.
- Scopolamine transdermal may be administered for other purposes, so consult your doctor.
- Tell all your healthcare specialists that you use Scopolamine.
- Avoid driving and carrying out other duties or activities that require you to see clearly or be alert until you know how Scopolamine transdermal affects you.
- Scopolamine transdermal patch can affect some lab tests. Let all your health care specialists know you use this medication.
- If you have allergies to Scopolamine or similar medications like Hyoscyamine (Symax, Levsin, Hyospaz) or Methscopolamine (Pamine), or have glaucoma (narrow-angle form), don’t use Scopolamine transdermal patch.
- If you’ll be participating in underwater sports, be sure to consult your doctor. Scopolamine transdermal may make you feel confused or lost.
- This medication may increase the risk for seizures in certain patients, including those who’ve had seizures previously. While taking Scopolamine, make sure to consult your doctor to find out whether you have a higher risk for seizures.
- If you’ve been regularly applying Scopolamine transdermal patch and you suddenly stop using it, you may suffer symptoms of withdrawal. Please don’t stop using this medication abruptly without consulting your doctor. Tell him or her if you suffer any bad effects.
- Some people may suffer certain symptoms 24 hours or so after taking off the patch. Call up your physician as soon as possible if you have headache, dizziness, vomiting or very upset stomach, problems with walking or balance, passing out or very serious dizziness, slow heartbeat, or muscle weakness.
- Don’t touch your eyes so soon after applying Scopolamine skin patch. The patch contains medication that can dilate pupils and make you have blurred vision.
- Taking alcohol can worsen some Scopolamine transdermal side effects.
- Don’t use Scopolamine skin patch on a child without consulting your doctor.