Transdermal scopolamine in the prevention of motion sickness: evaluation of the time course of efficacy

Homick JL, Kohl RL, Reschke MF, Degioanni J, Cintron-Trevino NM

This study evaluated the time course of efficacy of transdermal scopolamine in the prevention of motion sickness induced by exposure to coriolis stimulation in a rotating chair. We measured levels of efficacy, quantified side effects and symptoms, and determined inter- and intra-subject variability following use of transdermal scopolamine. The response to transdermal scopolamine was highly variable, although overall we recorded a 40% improvement (p less than 0.05) in test scores 16-72 h after application of the transdermal system. This variability could not be explained solely by the levels of scopolamine present in the blood. The improvement was not due to the artifactual repression by scopolamine of selected symptoms of motion sickness. An unexpectedly high incidence of side effects was reported. It was concluded that the therapeutic use of transdermal scopolamine be evaluated individually and that individuals be cautioned that subsequent usage may not always be effective.