Antihistamines for Vertigo

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Antihistamines for Vertigo

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
dimenhydrinateGravol
diphenhydramineBenadryl
hydroxyzine 
meclizineBonamine

How It Works

Antihistamines block parts of your brain that make you feel sick to your stomach when you have vertigo or motion sickness.

Why It Is Used

Antihistamines may be prescribed to control vertigo that is caused by inner ear problems, including Ménière's disease, inflammation of the inner ear (labyrinthitis), benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and inflammation of the nerve to the inner ear (vestibular neuritis).

Antihistamines may also be used to prevent nausea and other symptoms of motion sickness.

Dimenhydrinate may be used to prevent and control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

How Well It Works

These medicines do give some people relief from nausea and vomiting caused by vertigo. But there is no scientific evidence to show that these medicines help with symptoms of vertigo.1

These medicines may help with mild forms of motion sickness.2

Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effect is drowsiness. Do not use a medicine that makes you drowsy if you will be driving or operating dangerous equipment.

Antihistamines may also cause blurred vision or a dry mouth.

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Most antihistamines should be avoided during early pregnancy, if possible.

Don't give antihistamines to your child unless you've checked with the doctor first.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF) (What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

References

Citations

  1. Fife TD, et al. (2008). Practice parameter: Therapies for benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (an evidence-based review). Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee of the American Academy of Neurology. Neurology, 70(22): 2067–2074.
  2. Advice for travelers (2009). Treatment Guidelines From The Medical Letter, 7(87): 83–94.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Donald Sproule, MD, CM, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Barrie J. Hurwitz, MD, MD - Neurology
Last Revised February 15, 2011

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