What are the side effects of the Transcop Patch? I understand they are still the same as before the patch was taken off the market. My brother had blurred vision wearing one, but I've been told the side effects can be much worse.
Thanks for your question, Anne! (Nice to have one of the staff asking these questions, isn't it?)
The major side effect of the Transderm-Scop patch is dry mouth. I mean, REALLY DRY mouth! This occurs in about 2/3 of the people who use it. Less frequent side effects that occur are drowsiness, blurred vision, and pupil dilation. Other infrequently occuring side effects reported are disorientation, memory disturbances, dizziness, restlessness, hallucinations, confusion, difficulty urinating, rashes, and dry, itchy eyes.
In patients who have used the patches longer than three days, there can also be withdrawal effects: dizziness; nausea; vomitting; headache; and equilibrium disturbances.
Because of these pretty significant side effects (and the fact that you need a precription from a doctor to use these), I usually don't recommend this product as a first-line prophylaxis treatment for seasickness.
I have been on 7 cruises over the years and have used the patches numerous times without any side effects. Maybe it is because I don't drink. All I know is they work, at least for me. Maybe I have just been lucky.
Really, Paul, you do pose a very important question in understanding treatment of seasickness. Seasickness (or motion sickeness) is really a disorder of the inability of the vestibula in the inner ear to accomodate for the sensation of constant motion. This is where the action of the seasickness medications is focused. The OTC medications (Bonine, Dramamine...) or the scopolamine patches do not directly treat the acute stomache symptoms of seasickness.
The medications are for the prophylaxis (prevention) of seasickness before it occurs. For the patch, you should apply one patch behind the ear at least four hours before the antiemetic effect (nausea/vomitting prevention) is required. The recommendation for the OTC (oral) medications is to take the first tablet at least 1-2 hours before the effect is needed. Similarly, the recommendation for the homepathic treatment using ginger capsules states that treatment should start 2-3 days before departure. However, there is some anecdotal evidence that ginger settles the roiling tummy (I love gingerale when I'm a little queasy), so you can take your chances here.
If you are already experiencing nausea and vomitting due to seasickness, you can try to ride it out, remembering to stay hydrated (abstain from those delicious hydro-alcoholic beverages or highly carbonated refreshments), and maybe nibble on some bland, low-fat foods (e.g. saltine or dry toast). If you begin experiencing dehydration symptoms, it's best to seek medical intervention.
You couldn't have answered it any better, John!! I think you deserve a round of applause for all the fantastic work you do around here!
Actually. your aswer makes so much sense that I realize I should have known the answer before, because I have heard you are supposed to start the patch hours ahead of time.
The one thing that I know works for me that is contrary to what you said is the intake of liquids. Now, I do understand you are saying it is important to remain hydrated, especially if you have been vomiting -- however, I know for a fact that putting liquid in my stomach makes me much more nauseated than if I don't drink anything.
So, the question is -- which is better, not drinking liquids and not vomiting, or drinking liquids and vomiting more?
Trust me, the consequences of dehydrating are far more dire than an aversion to vomitting, Paul. So, you have to be VERY careful.
I always recommend to people that sipping liquids (and I mean sipping...very small sips!!!) while your stomach is upset generally might be helpful. It is also helpful to choose the liquid carefully...I prefer unsweetened tea and de-fizzed soda (Coke syrup is a staple home remedy for nausea/vomitting). Generally, you want to stay away from things like milk, alcoholic beverages, highly acidic juices, and coffee.