Warning: Scopolamine (a motion sickness patch) Side Effect - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 79 Old 01-26-2009 Thread Starter
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Warning: Scopolamine (a motion sickness patch) Side Effect

Well, this isn't really a side effect, but you should know about this if you use Scopolamine. Here's an excerpt from our blog (located at s/v Pelican - Following A Dream):

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Just a side story. We met George and Kim from s/v/ Indecent, a Super Maramu, while here at the Megadock. They are heading to the Keys and then to the Bahamas, and were planning on leaving this morning. As a matter of fact, I went over to their slip this morning to wish them well, and they were just about to leave. This afternoon I saw that they were still in their slip, so I wandered by to see why they didn't leave. Like us, they've been here in Charleston for over two weeks, and while they love it they are also ready to head south. They were especially interested in leaving before the snow tomorrow. I was very curious as to why they were still here.
They weren't on their boat, but their neighbor was out and shared with me that, as they were untying their docklines, Kim was having problems seeing and that one of her eyes was far more dilated than the other. She also felt a bit strange - off balance I believe. Worried, they called their physician who told them to go immediately to the Emergency Room. Upon arriving at the Emergency Room, Kim suffered through a series of tests before they told her that they had no idea what was going on. Since everything seemed to be related to her eyes, they had her see an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist spoke with her for a couple of minutes, and then asked her if she had used scopolamine at all. Scopolamine is a prescription drug that is used to minimize motion sickness and is commonly used by sailors to ward off seasickness. It is usually provided in a "patch" form which is stuck behind your ear and lasts for three days. Kim had just put on a patch that morning. One of the side effects of Scopolamine is that it will dilate your pupils. Kim must have touched the patch with her fingers and then rubbed her eyes, causing stroke-like symptoms and initiating panicked-husband syndrome. Anyway, she's doing fine now and they also plan to head out on Wednesday. True story!
By the way, the stuff is actually used by eye doctors to cause pupil dilation during testing. More info on it can be found at Scopolamine - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I will say that it has been our most effective choice for combating seasickness. We've been in some nasty stuff and felt fine. Our only side effects have been migraine like symptoms if you take the patch off and then immediately go to sleep.
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Last edited by labatt; 01-27-2009 at 10:18 PM.
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post #2 of 79 Old 01-26-2009
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I was always warned not to touch the eyes after applying the patch until you've washed your hands.

Good to get this out there again!

Ron

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post #3 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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Thank you Labatt..excellent post.

(now...we don't want anyone with their eyes open to look at a Maramu, do we??? (VBG))
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post #4 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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EXCELLENT post; great idea to share it here.


BTW, your link is wrong, forgot the 'blog'

Last edited by xort; 01-27-2009 at 07:26 AM.
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post #5 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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The warning to wash your hands is clearly marked on the labels which accompany TransScop. Still, many of us forget, or don't do a thorough job.

I've used scop.. for years on offshore passages. Works well for me. But, I have occasionally had the damned patch fall off, particularly if it were somehow rubbed inadvertently or in rainy weather.

So, I've found a workaround for that which works very well for me: after applying the little scopalamine patch, I put a healthy-sized waterproof bandaid over it. This holds it in place nicely, even if the area gets "bumped" or scratched.

Bill
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post #6 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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If this does happen to you (your pupils dilate), and you're out in the daylight...make sure you keep your sunglasses on. Your pupil won't contract with the brighter light...bad for your retinas.

It's not whether you're paranoid...it's whether you're paranoid enough.

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post #7 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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good post, thanks for sharing the info!


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post #8 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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post #9 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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I thought the "side effect" was going to be an uncontrollable urge not to lie!!
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post #10 of 79 Old 01-27-2009
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Good post.

Scope is my favorite seasickness drug too. It works well. It does require putting it on BEFORE leaving... generally 24 hours prior, though you can push that up some.

Some other difficulties you will find with this drug is looking through binocs and focusing on maps/words. Large type you can make out with some effort, small type... forget it. The drug intentionally screws up the signals between brain and eyes. As such, navigating via maps become much more laborous.

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