A relatively unknown statistic may appear shocking; vertigo and dizziness affect a significant percentage of the population. Estimates of the condition are a staggering 20 – 56 percent, indicating the large number of people suffering from the conditions. Various conditions and symptoms are attributed to vestibular system diseases; vertigo, motion sickness, dizziness, vomiting, and nausea among others. Meclizine is one of the different medications prescribed for treating these conditions and symptoms. Subsequent sections offer a detailed view of the medication, and its mechanism of action, apart from the possible side effects of meclizine. This is intended to help patients and caregivers prevent and mitigate adverse or unwanted outcomes.

Overview of meclizine

Belonging to the category of histamine H1 antagonist, the medication is used in treating conditions and symptoms such as nausea and vomiting, apart from dizziness that is typically linked to motion sickness. The medication possesses two distinct properties that make it suitable for treating these conditions – the antiemetic and antivertigo properties are the primary reasons for the effectiveness of the medication. Meclizine is used to symptomatically treat motion sickness apart from helping patients cope with vertigo.

In addition to the above properties, the medication is known to deliver anticholinergic and anesthetic effects that make it useful in combating symptoms. Meclizine is also classified as a central nervous system depressant and is available in generic formulations and as branded medications in tablet form.

Outcomes attributed to a mechanism of action

The outcomes of the medication are all attributed to the mechanism of action of the medication, and the reasons that trigger the symptoms. For instance, vomiting is attributed to a reflex mechanism that is centrally regulated. Similarly, motion sickness is controlled at the chemoreceptor trigger zone, also known as the CTZ. This receptor transmits impulses and this in turn is responsible for the various actions or sequence of actions for the symptoms mentioned above. As a histamine H1 antagonist, the medication works on the receptors and thereby helps to control and prevent the actions responsible for the conditions.

Important information about the medicine

The medication comes with the possibility of triggering undesirable outcomes at the workplace or at home. For instance, patients are likely to feel drowsy after taking the medication and this makes it necessary to avoid certain tasks or responsibilities. Work such as driving, operating machinery, or professions that require a high state of alertness or reflexes needs to be avoided when on the medications. Consumption of alcohol along with meclizine is to be strictly avoided as the combination will increase the drowsy effects. The prescription-only oral medication is also used as a part of combination therapy, and patients are to check out the possible interactions of all the medications that are taken together, including medications for other conditions.

Interactions of the medication

Without exception, all medications come with the possibility of interactions with other drugs or OTC formulations, or herbal remedies and supplements. Meclizine may interact with other substances, or the combination of the two substances may cause elevated side effects of either medication. Other interactions include an increase or decrease in the actual outcomes of either medication as a result of the drug interaction. Patients are advised to inform the treating specialist about other medications, as this will help prevent possible interactions. The side effects of meclizine are likely to be elevated when taken along with medications prescribed to treat insomnia. For instance, medications such as zolpidem, eszopiclone, temazepam, triazolam, flurazepam, and doxepin are all known to cause increased sedation in patients when taken with meclizine. Other interactions include changes in breathing rhythm, drowsy feelings, and difficulty in organizing thoughts.

Medications prescribed for treating certain psychotic disorders are also known to cause an increase in sedative effects. Examples of these medications include haloperidol, chlorpromazine, clozapine, and risperidone. The outcomes of the interaction are the same as mentioned for the earlier category of drugs. Similarly, prescription medications for anxiety are also known to trigger the same undesirable outcomes when taken with meclizine. Other categories of drugs that are known to cause adverse effects to include medications for allergies and medications prescribed for treating muscle spasms.

This list of interactions is neither complete nor exhaustive and is intended to offer basic information and categories of drugs that are known to interact with meclizine when taken together.

The unsuitability of the medication for certain categories of individuals

The drug is not suitable for certain individuals and patients with certain pre-existing conditions. For instance, it is not suitable for patients with a history of allergies or reactions to other substances. Commonly reported symptoms of allergies include difficulty breathing, swelling in the throat or the tongue, and the outbreak of rashes. Symptoms that are consistent with hives are also indicative of allergic reactions. It is necessary to seek medical intervention at the earliest to prevent aggravation of the allergies. Patients who have taken the medication in the past and experienced some sort of allergic reaction are advised not to take the drug, and choose a different medication. This is because initial allergic reactions are known to sensitize the individual, and subsequent reactions may be more serious in nature.

Effects of meclizine on patients with existing health conditions

Patients with pre-existing health conditions are likely to experience side effects of meclizine as outlined below. Patients with glaucoma are likely to end up with the aggravation of the condition as a result of the medication. It is essential to seek specific medical advice prior to taking the drug. The best option would be to choose a different medication to avoid adverse effects. Patients with an enlarged prostate are at risk of experiencing more complications as a result of the medication. AN enlarged prostate makes it difficult for patients to empty the bladder fully, and the medication will complicate the condition further.

Patients with liver complications and ailments are likely to be exposed to the risk of increased side effects. This is because the liver will be unable to process the drug effectively and eliminate it from the body. As the medication remains in the body for a longer time, there is every possibility of it triggering increased side effects. While there is inadequate information about the effects of Meclizine on individuals diagnosed with renal ailments, there is every possibility of impaired kidneys eliminating the drug effect from the body. Consequently, there is an element of risk of aggravated side effects, though this needs to be assessed in detail to confirm the possibility.

Patients with breathing complications are likely to experience greater difficulty in breathing, as the medication may cause the mucus to thicken in the lungs. This makes it essential for patients diagnosed with respiratory ailments like asthma, or COPD to choose alternative options instead of Meclizine. Approval of specialists is necessary before taking the medication in such conditions.

Commonly reported undesirable effects of Meclizine

As outlined earlier, there are certain common effects of the medication that may have an impact on routines. In addition to the drowsy feelings, and possible sedative effects, meclizine may cause fatigue in patients. The individual may experience headaches, and end up with a dry mouth. Other effects include the impact on vision, with patients experiencing blurred vision. Most commonly reported effects are known to resolve in a few weeks, without the need for medication or medical attention. Effects that are either persistent in nature or intense require medical attention.

Effects that are a cause for concern

Certain effects are serious in nature and a cause for concern. Patients and caregivers are to carefully look for tell-tale symptoms of serious effects and seek urgent medical intervention. For instance, on observing indications of allergic reactions, or if the patient reports any difficulty in breathing, medical intervention is mandatory. Similarly, any abnormal swelling in the throat or the tongue is quickly checked to prevent aggravation of the condition.  

The need for precautions among certain categories of users

Certain categories of users require additional precautions and care to prevent undesirable outcomes. For instance, the effects of medicine have not been studied on humans to determine the possibility of side effects. As a category B pregnancy medication, Meclizine has undergone tests on laboratory animals, but the effects have not been studied in detail to conclude its safety. Similarly, adequate studies have not been conducted to determine the safety of the drug on lactating women. In other words, there is insufficient data to determine if the medication enters breast milk. In the event of the medication entering breast milk, there is a possibility of it triggering undesirable effects on the infant. It is, therefore, necessary to seek an assessment of its use.

Elderly patients are likely to have impaired kidney functions that may result in improper elimination of the medication from the body. This may, in turn, expose the individual to the possibility of elevated side effects. The side effects of meclizine on children have not been studied in detail and this makes it imperative for parents to seek medical evaluation and assessment on its use.

Warnings about Meclizine

Laboratory studies reveal that dosages in excess of 1600 mg/kg have been known to be toxic levels in mice. It is necessary to ensure that the dosages do not exceed the toxic levels, as this can trigger symptoms such as CNS depression, and can result in possible coma among patients. Individuals are known to experience convulsions as a result of the overdose. Other possible effects of overdosing include hypotension, anticholinergic effects, hallucinations, and probable seizures. The individual may experience difficulty in sleeping, and it is important to extend treatment that is symptomatic apart from supportive protocols.

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