Dramamine is a medical formulation of the generic drug dimenhydrinate and is used to relieve symptoms of motion sickness (also called kinetosis), primarily nausea and vomiting. It is often available as chewable grape-flavored tablets for children (1).
Dimenhydrinate is a first-generation antihistamine drug consisting of diphenhydramine and 8-chlorotheophylline. The over-the-counter (OTC) drug mainly counteracts the effects of the biochemical histamine, which is responsible for triggering allergic reactions and vomiting due to motion sickness (2).
Read this post to learn about the safety profile of Dramamine for kids.
Safety Of Dramamine For Children
Dramamine is considered safe for children aged two and above. It must not be used for children below two years unless prescribed by a pediatrician. You are advised to always consult a doctor before prescribing Dramamine to your child (3).
Dramamine Dosage For Children
Dramamine can be used to prevent an episode of motion sickness if your child takes a dose 30 minutes to one hour before travel. The recommended dosage is as follows (3).
|Age (in years)||Dose||Maximum dose|
|2 to 5||½ to 1 tablet every 6-8 hours.||3 tablets in 24 hours or as directed by the doctor|
|6 to under 12||1 to 2 tablets every 6-8 hours||6 tablets in 24 hours or as directed by a doctor|
It is advisable to start with the lowest dose and increase it only if it does not work. Also, read the labels carefully before prescribing Dramamine to children.
Dramamine’s Mechanism Of Action
Uneasiness, nausea, and vomiting during traveling are the common symptoms of motion sickness. The brain maintains the body’s balance by analyzing signals from different body areas such as the eyes, inner ear (vestibule), intestine, and various motion-sensitive subcutaneous tissues (proprioceptors). Any mismatch can cause motion sickness.
Neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, histamine, serotonin, glycine, and noradrenaline help forward mismatched signals to the vomiting center in the brain stem. Dimenhydrinate can block the central effects of both histamine and acetylcholine to act as an antiemetic (a drug that prevents vomiting). Additionally, it may prevent spasms in the gut by blocking the action of histamine on the intestinal muscles. However, the exact mechanism is unknown (4)(5).
Dramamine Side Effects In Children
As with most medications, Dramamine has side effects. The most common side effects in children include (4)
- Muscle weakness.
The less common ones include
- Increased excitement.
- Dry mouth and nasal passages.
- Blocked nose.
- Blurry vision.
- Increased heartbeat.
Consult your healthcare provider if any of these side effects become severe or your child experiences some other adverse effects.
Drug Interactions With Dramamine
- Antidepressants, such as sertraline (Zoloft)
- Antianxiety drugs, such as fluoxetine (Prozac)
- Antiepileptic drugs, such as valproate (Depakene)
These medications may depress the central nervous system and increase the severity of side effects encountered with Dramamine.
Precautions To Take When Using Dramamine
- Always consult your pediatrician before giving Dramamine if your child has breathing disorders, such as asthma or seizures.
- Seek medical advice if your child has recently undergone any surgery, including dental surgery.
- Ensure your child is not allergic to dimenhydrinate or any other inactive ingredient of Dramamine (aspartame, citric acid, magnesium stearate, methacrylic acid copolymer, sorbitol).
- Do not use it if the blister pack has been tampered with. Store Dramamine at room temperature (20°C to 25°C).
- Ensure the child chews the tablet before swallowing it.
- The medication should be used under medical supervision if the child has phenylketonuria (an inherited condition that requires diet restrictions). Dramamine chewable tablets contain aspartame as a sweetener, which converts to phenylalanine.
- Dramamine affects alertness in children. So, ensure they avoid activities such as cycling or skateboarding.
- Consult with your pharmacist before giving any other OTC drug or any herbal preparation.
- Keep Dramamine out of children’s reach.
Symptoms Of Dramamine Overdose
Children may accidentally overdose on Dramamine. In such a case, watch out for the following symptoms (6).
- Dilated pupils
- Extreme drowsiness
- Irritation and restlessness
Dramamine can alter the actions of many neurotransmitters and cause these effects. Seek emergency medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms in your child.
Dramamine or dimenhydrinate is a safe medication for motion sickness in children. However, ensure you consult a doctor before administering it to your child. Seek immediate medical help in case of severe side effects or overdose.
- Dramamine for Kids- dimenhydrinate tablet chewable.
- Paul Enarson et al.; (2011); Dimenhydrinate use for children with vomiting.
- Dramamine for Kids
- Andreas Koch et al.; (2018); The Neurophysiology and Treatment of Motion Sickness.
- Ian Kodish et al.; (2011); Pharmacotherapy for anxiety disorders in children and adolescents.
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