GENERIC NAME: scopolamine
BRAND NAME: Transderm Scop
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Scopolamine is an oral, intravenous, ophthalmic or topical drug with many uses including the prevention of motion sickness. Transderm Scop is scopolamine administered topically (through the skin or transdermally) via a special delivery system that gradually releases scopolamine onto the skin over a period of three days. Scopolamine is absorbed into the body through the skin. It is not clear how scopolamine prevents nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness. The vestibular part of the ear is very important for balance. When a person who is susceptible to motion sickness experiences motion, the vestibule sends a signal through nerves to the vomiting center in the brain, and vomiting occurs. Acetylcholine is a chemical that nerves use to transmit messages to each other (a neurotransmitter). Scientists believe that scopolamine prevents communication between the nerves of the vestibule and the vomiting center in the brain by blocking the action of acetylcholine (anticholinergic effect). Scopolamine also may work directly on the vomiting center. Scopolamine must be taken before the onset of motion sickness to be effective. The FDA approved Transderm Scop in December 1979.
SIDE EFFECTS: The most common side effects are:
Scopolamine may worsen narrow angle glaucoma, cause difficulty urinating and lead to dry, itchy eyes. Some patients may experience disorientation and confusion. If used more than 3 days some patients may experience withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headache, and dizziness. Some patches may cause burns of the skin if worn during an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. Patients should tell their health care professional that they are using a medication patch prior to receiving an MRI scan, and the patch should be removed.
Quick GuideDigestive Disease Myths Pictures Slideshow: Common Misconceptions
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.