The Health Risks of Abusing Motion Sickness Drugs

Even motion sickness pills may be abused by a person who enjoys the euphoric effects of high doses. Youth may abuse this drug because it is readily available. Dimenhydrinate, best known as Dramamine, can cause delirium and hallucinations at high dosages. The abuser may be confused and suffer amnesia.

Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) produces a dreamy, relaxed state when it is abused. It can also product confusion, disorientation, vomiting, loss of coordination and hallucinations.



If too much dimenhydrinate is taken, it can trigger a heart attack or even result in death. The heart may beat too fast and be irregular.

Diphehydramine and ibuprofen, found together in some formulas, increases one’s risk of serious or even fatal heart and blood vessel problems, such as heart attack or stroke.


Dimenhydrinate is associated with interference with kidney function. A reduction in urine output is a signal that kidneys are not functioning properly. If the drug is not discontinued, the kidneys may fail, requiring dialysis or transplant to save a person’s life.


In prescription medications, diphenhydramine is often combined with acetaminophen, a known toxin for the liver. When the drug is abused for the euphoric or hallucinogenic effects, the liver will take the majority of the load of breaking down these drugs. Liver failure is a common result of an overdose of acetaminophen.


The effect of the drugs on the stomach can be to cause stomach ulcers and bleeding.



According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, diphenhydramine can be very unsafe for some people to use if they are going to drive. Their tests show longer reaction time and reduced ability to maintain one’s position in a lane or keep a consistent distance from the car in front. It was concluded that the effects of diphenhydramine can be even worse than the effects of alcohol. This was true even when the drug user did not think he was sleepy or inattentive.

Cough medications help people get some restful sleep, but the two main kinds of cough suppressants are also widely abused - and dangerous.


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