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Scopolamine Patch Side Effects

There are many side effects of scopolamine patch, like changes in vision and skin irritation. Read on to know about these adverse effects, and how to identify them...
One of the most common problem that people who travel a lot face is motion sickness. In a bid to tackle this problem, many drugs are prescribed by different doctors. One such drug that has become quite popular with the regular traveler is scopolamine. Scopolamine is a tropane alkaloid which is obtained from plants of the family Solanaceae. This drug has strong anticholinergic properties. One way of administering this drug is via a transdermal patch. The scopolamine patch is commonly used to treat motion sickness, and at times, is also used to help patients recovering from a surgery that was done under general anesthesia. One of the main reasons why scopolamine patch was introduced was not just because of the convenience of this route of administration but also because when compared to other routes of administration, this route showed the least number of adverse effects. However, that does not mean that there are no side effects of using this transdermal patch.

Side Effects of Scopolamine Patch
  • One of the common adverse effects is blurred vision and changes in accommodation of the eye. This is one of the reasons why people that are using a transdermal scopolamine patch are strictly told not to operate any motor vehicle.
  • A person may also suffer from dizziness and drowsiness while using a scopolamine patch.
  • One of the other adverse effects is dry mouth. Although this dryness is not severe enough to cause problems like difficulty swallowing, it is severe enough to lead to slight changes in perception of taste.
  • This drug may cause decreased amount of sweating (due to the anticholinergic effect), constipation, etc.
  • There are certain local side effects that are seen when using a transdermal patch. These include itching and redness of skin and/or irritation in the region where the patch is present. At times, the person may suffer from dermatitis as well.
  • In some patients, withdrawal symptoms may be seen associated with this patch, especially if it has been worn for more than three days. These withdrawal symptoms are seen due to the sudden spurt of cholinergic activity. The symptoms seen include nausea, vomiting, paresthesis, hypotension, etc.
  • One of the potential side effects is that the absorption and action of certain oral medications that may be taken concurrently could be greatly hampered. This is because one of the mechanisms of action of scopolamine is by decreasing the motility of the gastrointestinal tract. So, the absorption of some drugs may be hampered, which could lead to its own set of side effects.
  • In rare cases, a person may suffer from some severe conditions, which may include hives, rashes, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, skin irritation and itching, facial and body swelling, etc. In this case, he needs to immediately stop using the patch and should visit the doctor to get his condition evaluated.
These were the various side effects of scopolamine patch, although there are some people who do not report any adverse effects of using this drug. Besides these, there are certain precautions that need to be taken too. For instance, this patch should not be used by people that are suffering from certain conditions, like bowel problems, inflammatory diseases of the gut, blood disorders, certain types of glaucoma, etc. Also, it is not known as to whether this patch is safe for pregnant or lactating mothers. There are also some potentially dangerous drug interactions that may be seen related to this drug with beta blockers, phenothiazines, etc. Hence, although there are mild and limited contraindications, it is always best to consult a doctor before going in for purchasing and using a scopolamine patch.
By Dr. Sumaiya Khan
Published: 11/27/2010
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