Why is this medication prescribed?
Scopolamine is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness or medications used during surgery. Scopolamine is in a class of medications called antimuscarinics. It works by blocking the effects of a certain natural substance (acetylcholine) on the central nervous system.
How should this medicine be used?
Scopolamine comes as a patch to be placed on the skin behind your ear. When used to help prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness, apply the patch at least 4 hours before its effects will be needed and leave in place for up to 3 days. If treatment is needed for longer than 3 days to help prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness, remove the current patch and apply a new patch behind the other ear. When used to prevent nausea and vomiting from medications used with surgery, apply the patch as directed by your doctor and leave it in place for 24 hours after your surgery. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Use the scopolamine patch exactly as directed.
To apply the patch, follow the directions:
- After washing the area behind the ear, wipe the area with a clean, dry tissue to ensure that the area is dry. Avoid placing on areas of your skin that have cuts, pain, or tenderness.
- Remove the patch from its protective pouch. Peel off the clear plastic protective strip and discard it. Don't touch the exposed adhesive layer with your fingers.
- Place the adhesive side against the skin.
- After you have placed the patch behind your ear, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
When the scopolamine patch is no longer needed, remove the patch and dispose of it. Wrap the patch in tissue or paper to avoid exposing anyone else to the remaining medication. Wash your hands and the area behind your ear thoroughly with soap and water to remove any traces of scopolamine from the area. If a new patch needs to be applied, place a fresh patch on the hairless area behind your other ear.
Do not cut the patch.
Limit contact with water while swimming and bathing because the patch may fall off.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before using scopolamine patches,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to scopolamine, other belladonna alkaloids, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in scopolamine patches. Ask your doctor or pharmacist or check the package label for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: antihistamines; muscle relaxants; sedatives; or tricyclic antidepressants such as desipramine (Norpramin), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), trimipramine (Surmontil), and tranquilizers.
- tell your doctor if you have angle-closure glaucoma (a condition where the fluid is suddenly blocked and unable to flow out of the eye causing a quick, severe increase in eye pressure which may lead to a loss of vision). Your doctor will probably tell you not to use scopolamine patch.
- tell your doctor if you have or have ever had open-angle glaucoma (increase in internal eye pressure that damages the optic nerve); seizures; psychotic disorders (conditions that cause difficulty telling the difference between things or ideas that are real and things or ideas that are not real); stomach or intestinal obstruction; difficulty urinating; or heart, liver, or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while using scopolamine patches, call your doctor immediately.
- if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are using scopolamine patches.
- you should know that this drug may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how scopolamine patches will affect you. If you participate in water sports, use caution because this medication can have disorienting effects.
- talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while taking this drug. Alcohol increases the side effects caused by scopolamine patches.
- talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of using scopolamine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should not usually use scopolamine because it is not as safe or effective as other medications that can be used to treat the same condition.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
Apply the missed patch as soon as you remember it. Do not apply more than one patch at a time.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Scopolamine patches may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- dry mouth
- vision changes
- difficulty speaking
- difficulty urinating
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of the following symptoms, remove the patch and call your doctor immediately:
Scopolamine patches may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while you are using this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
It is important to keep all medication out of sight and reach of children as many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and young children can open them easily. To protect young children from poisoning, always lock safety caps and immediately place the medication in a safe location – one that is up and away and out of their sight and reach. http://www.upandaway.org
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call the poison control helpline at 1-800-222-1222. Information is also available online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. If the victim has collapsed, had a seizure, has trouble breathing, or can't be awakened, immediately call emergency services at 911.
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory.
Remove the scopolamine system before having a magnetic resonance imaging scan (MRI).
Do not let anyone else use your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
- Transderm Scop®
- Transdermal scopolamine