What Are the Most Common Dimenhydrinate Side Effects?

Meshell Powell

Most dimenhydrinate side effects are relatively mild in nature and do not pose any significant health risks, although any new or bothersome symptoms that develop after beginning treatment with this medication should be reported to a doctor for further evaluation. Some of the most frequently reported side effects of this anti-nausea drug include dizziness, drowsiness, and dry mouth. More serious side effects that should be reported to a doctor right away include visual disturbances, irregular heartbeat, and decreased urinary output. Serious allergic reactions may occur when taking this medication and may involve symptoms such as facial swelling, difficulty breathing, and loss of consciousness. Specific questions or concerns about possible dimenhydrinate side effects in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Heart problems are a possible side effect of dimenhydrinate.
Heart problems are a possible side effect of dimenhydrinate.

Dizziness and drowsiness are common dimenhydrinate side effects that may lessen as the body adjusts to the medication. Extreme caution should be used when driving or performing activities that require focus or concentration. The mouth, eyes, and nose may become dry as a result of this medication. If these symptoms become bothersome, additional medications, such as saline sprays or eye drops, may be used.

An allergic reaction to dimenhydrinate may cause the patient to lose consciousness.
An allergic reaction to dimenhydrinate may cause the patient to lose consciousness.

Blurred vision or other types of visual disturbances should be evaluated by the prescribing physician. In some cases, a dosage change can lessen or eliminate these symptoms, although the medication may need to be discontinued if these side effects become severe. Patients with eye conditions such as optic neuritis or glaucoma may not be advised to take this drug.

Arrhythmia, or an irregular heartbeat, is among the possible dimenhydrinate side effects. Heart palpitations, chest pain, and shortness of breath may indicate severe complications relating to the circulatory system. Abnormal bleeding or easy bruising may also signify the presence of a cardiac disorder. Difficulty urinating or a reduced amount of urinary output may be due to kidney damage. When diagnosed in the earliest stages, damage to the kidneys may be able to be reversed, although permanent damage that requires dialysis or transplant is possible.

Allergic reactions may occur as potentially life-threatening dimenhydrinate side effects. Skin reactions to this drug may include itching, hives, and peeling or blistering of the skin. The most severe type of allergic reaction is known as anaphylaxis and can lead to swelling of the face or tongue, difficulty breathing, and chest pain. Sudden drops in blood pressure may cause the patient to lose consciousness or slip into a coma. Emergency medical treatment is vital if an allergic reaction is suspected in order to prevent permanent organ damage or death.

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