Monday, January 9, 2017

PSA - Motion Sickness Patch (Transderm Scop)

I've suffered from motion sickness my entire life.  Pretty much everyone who is close to me knows this, unfortunately because they've been with me when I've been carsick, or sick on an airplane, or sick on a boat; shoot, I can become carsick when I'm driving myself around town, given the right conditions (an overcast sky seems to be the key with this one).  I've barfed more times than I can count in the backseat of the car as we drove to various lakes when I was a kid; one of the dads in our sailing club worked for United Airlines back then and stocked us with their barf bags to keep in the car; they were GOOD barf bags, too - very sturdy, with a waterproof liner and a nice flap to fold over when used.  Had blogging been around back in the 70s and 80s, I could have done an entire post rating airline barf bags (Mexicana's were the worst, like small sandwich baggies).  But I digress...

It's not a fun way to go through life, but at 53 years of age, I've adapted, which in most cases meant either staying on the sidelines and watching my family and friends go on rides at amusement parks, or keeping a barf bag nearby when I fly.  I've taken Dramamine for decades and it helps, but doesn't eliminate motion sickness for me.
I feel like this sign was made specifically for me.

Because of this, I usually only get to go on one ride at an amusement park, and it's almost a guarantee that I'll spend several hours afterward trying to recover from motion sickness - which is what happened three years ago when we went on the Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride - I didn't even make it though the ride before feeling terribly motion sick.  I didn't want to miss out on the rides on our latest trip to Orlando, and I also didn't want to waste my days feeling sick, so I decided to try the Transderm Scop motion sickness patch.  I asked my doctor for a prescription, telling her what I wanted it for.  She said that it either works beautifully, or I would know right away if it wasn't going to help.  Still, it was worth a try, especially for a trip where we had six days of theme park rides planned.

I have to say that I had a bit of sticker shock (no pun intended) when I picked up the patches at the pharmacy - I paid $60 for four of them!!!  But, I reasoned, if they worked, then they would totally be worth it.  I applied the first patch in the early morning before our flight to Orlando, and didn't do the greatest job getting it behind my ear, but it was close enough:
Only picture I got of the patch, but after this one, I managed to put it closer to the back of my ear. 

The airplane ride was fine - no motion sickness there.  The next morning would be the real test - the Escape From Gringotts ride at Universal Studios.  You guys.  I went on it and got to enjoy the ride, the entire ride, with my eyes open!  No squeezing them shut, trying desperately to not get sick - I got to ride the ride like a normal person!  And then?  We went on another ride.  And another.  It was a freaking miracle.  I had a little hesitation before a couple of the rides, like this one:
Rip Ride Rockit - I went on this and didn't get motion sick!!!
Story of my life, normally - but I went on this ride and did not hurl!

Nothing made me sick, although there were a few rides (Dueling Dragons, and the Rockit ride) that I only rode once, while Jeff and the kadults went back for more, but I actually felt good - I just didn't want to tempt fate, or push the powers of the patch too far.  Because we doing such extreme rides every day, I followed the directions for the patch to a T, changing it out for a new one every three days.  For the first time in my life, I was able to go on amusement park rides and not be sick.  I got to enjoy our vacation without dealing with motion sickness.  It truly was a miracle and I was prepared to come back and blog all about how wonderful the Transderm Scop motion sickness patch was.

But, here's the thing.  We flew home on a Saturday, and on Sunday, I removed the last patch.  I unpacked, did laundry, and wrote my first blog post about the vacation.  Everything was fine until mid-morning on Monday, when I suddenly had a headache and felt like I was motion sick - in my own house.  I felt awful, and actually vomited.  I laid down after that and hoped that whatever bug I might have would pass.  Nope.  I still felt awful for the rest of the day - every time I moved, I felt motion sick.  But I thought it must be a type of flu, maybe, although I did double-check the side effects of the patch, just to be sure.  My symptoms didn't match what were listed in the package insert, and I continued to feel terrible.  Finally, Allie happened to call on Tuesday evening just as I was starting to feel like I was going to vomit yet again, and because I kept saying how I felt like I was motion sick, suggested that I take a Dramamine, so I did - and within about 30 minutes, I felt better.  Not perfect, but less sick.

I Googled more on the patch and side effects, and eventually hit on the correct search word:  withdrawal.  I was experiencing withdrawal from the Scopolamine patch.  The most detailed article I found is linked here, but basically it said that once you stop using the patch - and this is exacerbated the longer you've been using the patch - all of the motion sickness receptors that were blocked by the medicine come on full force.  So I wasn't crazy - I was, in fact, experiencing motion sickness!  And oh man, it was BAD.  The article talked about patients getting some relief by taking a medicine called Meclizine, and when I Googled that, I discovered that it's a form of anti-emetic, much like Dramamine, although Dramamine has a different active ingredient.  Still, that would explain why I felt better when I took the Dramamine.

I only had a few Dramamine remaining; the next day I went to the store to buy more and found a bottle of generic Meclizine next to the Dramamine - I think the bottle of 100 pills cost less than three bucks, which is a lot cheaper than Dramamine, so I bought it.  I didn't think I'd need 100 pills, but that price was too good to pass up.  As it turned out, I ended up taking two Meclizine pills several times a day for about a week - every time I'd try to cut back to just one per dose, the motion sickness would return.  This didn't erase my symptoms, but it did make life tolerable for me.  I was finally able to stop taking the Meclizine after day 10 or day 11 - I can't remember exactly, but I needed it for a long time.  Good thing I bought the big bottle!

I'm writing about this because I wanted you to know that what happened to me - experiencing extreme withdrawal from using the patch - was actually avoidable, had I known that there was a possibility of this occurring.  In reading further, and in talking with friends, I realized that I might have been OK had I simply left that last patch on for at least a week.  Knowing how horribly affected I was, I'd probably go ahead and take the Meclizine as well, although I bet I could get away with only taking one pill per dose, since I wouldn't be in extreme withdrawal with the patch still on.

Would I use the motion sickness patch again?  Yes - for big things, like amusement park rides, or a very long and winding drive through the mountains, or a cruise.  It worked beautifully for me.  It was only when I stopped using it that things went so bad.  And now I know - and you do, as well - what to do in order to avoid getting motion sickness after you're done with the patch.

29 comments:

  1. So sorry to hear about your experience. I get motion sickness on curvy roads and the ocean. Meczlizine is my drug of choice for this ailment. It works like a charm and I've never had withdrawal symptoms. Try it alone next time.

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    1. I will definitely try the Meclizine solo, next time I fly or go on a road where I know I'll get sick.

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  2. I would skip the rides rather than have the side effects. And I do.

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    1. I REALLY wanted to go on the rides - and I'm glad I did, even with what happened afterward.

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  3. I am so sorry that happened! I can't believe they wouldn't warn about those side effects up front and very obviously - that sounds awful :(

    I was the one puking on road trips all the time as a kid too (so much so that my brother even nicknamed me Vomit - when I met his new girlfriend last summer she didn't even know my real name!). I'm mostly better in cars now, but I still get mild motion sickness and related anxiety when I take buses. I took a bus to/from the train for years for work and every single time worried I was going to puke. So I know that it's a horrible condition to have, and I'm glad that you were able to bypass that and enjoy your vacation. It's just too bad you had to learn about the withdrawal the hard way.

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    1. Sorry to be laughing at your brother's nickname for you but I wouldn't have been surprised had MY brother done the same for me...it's got to be hard to sit in the backseat next to someone who gets motion sick all the time.

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  4. Did you feel dehydrated while on the patch? We use them with palliative patients to help dry up secretions.

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    1. I did not - and I wasn't even drinking all that much during the day, either.

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  5. Another thing we share. My mom promised me I'd grow out of motion sickness but I never have. I've been a scopolamine user for probaby 10 years but here's the thing, I never leave that patch on for more than 1 day. I find it starts to blur my vision and I get the worst dry mouth, then once it's off I am so exhausted I can't stay awake.

    Anyway, a few years ago, I discovered this item called Relief Band:

    https://www.amazon.com/ReliefBand-Motion-Sickness-Device-Batteries/dp/B00VU8XXBE/ref=pd_lpo_121_tr_t_3?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=M0RQMK0KMRWVRCC50RGG

    You wear it like a watch and it sends a pulse into your fingers that somehow stops motion sickness. It has been worth every penny I paid for it. I am now able to fly, go on boats, and even long car trips without getting sick - and it's all drug free!

    Not sure how it would work with such drastic motion as rides at an amusement park, but for everything else, I can't recommend it enough.

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    1. That Relief Band is interesting - and expensive, yikes! I would want to know that it would work for me before spending so much money. Good to know that it works for you, and in reading the Amazon reviews, it does sound promising...

      Weirdly, I didn't experience any of the normal side effects of the patch - no dry eyes, no dry mouth, no sleepiness. Just one MAJOR issue, ugh.

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  6. Being that motion sick afterwards just sounds brutal. I am so used to NOT going on the big thrill rides, I think it would be hard for me to try them, even with the patch!

    Its too bad the doctors or pharmacist didn't supply the information to keep the last patch on to avoid withdrawal.

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    1. It was bizarre to keep saying yes to the thrill rides - I just don't normally consider them. Super fun, I will say.

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  7. That is so awesome that it worked! But horrible you had to go through that withdrawal! I hope people googling it find this post and get the heads up from you!

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  8. Shelly I also use the the transderm patch. I use it when I fly. I have found that I wear it for only half of my flight time. When I first started using it, I would wear for the full 3 days then replace. It would cause a metal taste in my mouth and blurred vision. And after removing the patch, it takes days for my vision to go back to normal. I will continue to use my transderm patch. I refuse to miss our three times a year trips to Maui!

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    1. Three times a year to Maui!! I am so jealous. I love that island, and I'd love to know more about your trips - do you have a condo there?

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  9. I get car sick but am usually okay on planes. I've passed on several of the rides at Universal last time we were there because I was afraid of getting sick. I really wish i would have done the Harry potter one but I was too scared...hehe

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    1. If you get car sick, the Harry Potter rides would have made you sick, for sure. But if you ever get a chance to go on them while using something for motion sickness, DO - they are really fun!

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  10. My sister gets motion sickness and she has tried a wrist band type of thing that seemed to do well for her. Other than she will not eat all day until she is done with rides! I think I would try just the meclizine alone and see how that does for you. You may want to ask your doc for a prescription for meclizine generic because the strength may be higher for prescription than OTC if your motion sickness is really bad.

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    1. I've always wondered why get a Rx when I could just take two of the OTC pills? Of course I am cheap...

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  11. Thanks for this post; I read it plus every response. I wanna go on rides too!

    I was prescribed Meclizine for vertigo, when I have a severe case. (Rarely) HOW is this script not making y'all sleepy?!
    Chrissy

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    1. You know, Dramamine rarely makes me drowsy - I guess that's why I could take two Meclizine at a time and still be awake. Although, I also don't sleep well at night, so that might also have something to do with it.

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  12. Thanks for the heads up! I suffer from motion sickness too...I can't even kayak! It's good to know about the after effects!

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    1. It's a shame that motion sickness affects so many of us to the point where we can't do fun things. :(

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  13. Great information. So glad you shared this experience...and glad you're back to being You.

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  14. OMG, I would never have known! I don't get sick as bad as you do, but I do get it occasionally, thank you for the info!

    And as to the nostalgic reflections about barf bags from years gone by? You totally cracked me up!

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  15. I've had a friend experience the post-patch motion sickness that you described. It's nice to know that it's avoidable! I'm also glad you found something that works for you! YAY!

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  16. That's not fun that you suffered from this all your life but I'm happy that the patch helped and you could enjoy all the rides. Bummer though that you felt so bad when you got home.

    Reading how many people suffer from this, I think your post can be helpful to a lot of them.

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