What Are Anti-Nausea Drugs And What Do They Do?

Learn all about nausea and vomiting, how to control it with anti-nausea and antiemetic over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and what natural alternatives are available.

Anti-nausea drugs treat the sensation in the stomach that often precedes vomiting, usually described as a queasy feeling or an upset stomach. Nausea is a symptom, not a disease. Chronic nausea frequently indicates an underlying disease, and the disease requires diagnosis and treatment. While anti-nausea drugs can often control the sensation as well as the vomiting, ironically, nausea is a common side effect of many popular drugs.

Prolonged vomiting can lead to dehydration, which can progress into a life-threatening condition. The body requires hydration, and continual or prolonged vomiting robs the body of essential fluids. Chronic nausea also requires a doctor's diagnosis and treatment.

Note: General information offered in this article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication.

In recent years, the drug industry has begun targeting patients with aggressive marketing campaigns. Be careful when asking your doctor for medication that he or she hasn't specifically prescribed. Your chances of experiencing nausea increase with each prescription drug you take.

Before you rush out and fill your medicine cabinet with over-the-counter anti-nausea and antiemetic drugs, check with your doctor about what to stock, under what circumstances to take it, and what dosage is right for you. You may learn that you have a condition that requires you to avoid certain over-the-counter prescription drugs.

What causes nausea?

Most instances of passing nausea are benign. Common causes of nausea include:

* Colic - affects ten percent of infants

* Motion sickness - nausea and vomiting associated with travel and roller-coaster type amusement rides

* Pregnancy - the first trimester usually includes nausea and vomiting, known as "morning sickness"

* Drug side effects

* Drug interactions

* Food poisoning

* Flu and viral infections

* Chemotherapy

* Allergies - the nausea and vomiting can result from the substance or from phlegm and fluid accumulation in the stomach

* Acid indigestion

* Stress and fear

* Hangovers from excessive alcohol intake

* Strong, unpleasant odors, including common cooking odors and common fragrances such as cologne and perfume

* Vertigo, inner ear or other balance problems

* Migraine headaches

* Anesthesia administered during surgery

Anti-nausea and antiemetic drugs

Anti-nausea drugs control the queasy sensation, and antiemetic drugs control vomiting. Antiemetic drugs suppress the effects of chemicals in the brain that stimulate the urge to vomit.

Note: Sometimes vomiting is the desired result; for example, when someone has ingested a certain type of poisonous substance, the body needs to rid itself of the poison, and sometimes vomiting is the preferred method. You should not vomit after swallowing some poisons, and unless you know the difference, don't take anything without medical supervision. If you're unsure what's causing the nausea, or you suspect a serious underlying condition, seek medical attention immediately. If you know that you've ingested a specific poisonous substance, call your local poison control authorities, a doctor or the emergency room before taking an antiemetic drug.

Anti-nausea and antiemetic drugs are available over-the-counter or by prescription. It's sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two types of drugs, because often easing the nausea prevents the vomiting.

Common over-the-counter drugs

* Alka-Seltzer - fizzy solution for treating acid indigestion

* Apothecary Ezy Care Cola Syrup - fructose-based cola relief for upset stomach

* Pepto-Bismol - for simple upset stomach

* Emetrol - used to control vomiting, safe for children

* Dramamine - prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness

* Bonine - prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness

Common prescription drugs

Interestingly, many commonly prescribed anti-nausea drugs are actually prescription strength antihistamines, tranquilizers, and other off-label medications""drugs approved to treat one type of symptom or disease, but effective in treating another symptom or disease. Your doctor will determine if you require prescription medication and which drug is best for you.

Common natural alternatives

* Gripewater - an all-natural, traditional European treatment for colic

* Cola - mothers around the world swear by cola drinks for treating a child's upset stomach

* Ginger Ale - ginger is a natural stomach soother

* Wrist-bands - used to control motion sickness

* Chiropractic, acupuncture and acupressure

* Medical Marijuana - illegal and controversial

In many cases, you can prevent nausea and vomiting, and this is the best option. For example, if you know that you can't fly without getting sick, take preventative measures. If your allergies make you sick to your stomach, seek relief from your allergies, and try to remove the allergen. If you know that roller coasters make you sick, avoid them! A little common sense goes a long way toward preventing the very conditions that send you to the drug counter in your drugstore or supermarket, and prevention is the best possible medicine.

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