A scopolamine patch helps prevent nausea and vomiting. This prescription adhesive can be placed behind your ear for up to 3 days. Mild side effects are common and usually resolve on their own. However, in rare cases, serious side effects can occur.
Scopolamine patches are used to help prevent nausea and vomiting. They’re often prescribed if you experience nausea due to medications or motion sickness.
Scopolamine patches are worn behind the ear and can be left in place for up to 3 days. Another patch can be applied after 3 days if you still need nausea prevention.
Scopolamine patches are linked to some side effects. Most side effects are mild and temporary and will usually resolve on their own. However, in rare cases, serious side effects can occur that need urgent medical attention.
Scopolamine patches can cause several side effects. Most side effects are mild and will resolve on their own. Common side effects of the scopolamine patch include:
After you apply a scopolamine patch, it will take your skin at least 4 hours to absorb the medication. This typically means it will take at least 4 hours — and it might take as long as 8 hours — to notice any side effects.
Most side effects will ease after a day or two. However, some side effects may linger even after you remove the patch, as the medication will still be in your bloodstream. It can take a day or more for side effects to resolve after you’ve removed a scopolamine patch.
In rare instances, scopolamine patches may cause severe side effects. Some of these side effects require urgent medical attention.
If you notice any of these side effects, it’s important to remove the patch immediately and get medical attention right away. Serious side effects of the scopolamine patch include:
- eye pain or redness
- blurry or distorted vision
- stomach pain
- difficulty passing urine
- skin rash, redness, or irritation
- delusions or paranoia
- difficulty speaking
- agitation or restlessness
- heart palpitations
These side effects are rare. Some have only been reported in a small number of scopolamine patch users. However, because these side effects are serious, it’s important to be aware of them and to tell your doctor right away if you experience any of them.
Who should avoid using a scopolamine patch?
Scopolamine patches aren’t recommended for everyone. You may want to avoid using a scopolamine patch if you:
- are allergic to scopolamine, any other belladonna alkaloids, or any of the ingredients in scopolamine patches
- have angle-closure glaucoma
- have epilepsy or another seizure condition
- have a condition that causes hallucinations or delusions
- have difficulty passing urine
- have preeclampsia
- have a stomach or intestinal obstruction
- are currently pregnant or trying to get pregnant
- are currently breastfeeding or chestfeeding
- are taking certain medications for:
It’s also important that your doctor knows about any medications, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you take, as these medications could interact with the scopolamine patch and cause side effects.
The best way to minimize possible side effects of the scopolamine patch is to use it exactly as instructed. This can also help you get the best results from the patch.
How to apply a scopolamine patch properly
- Carefully wash and dry the area behind your ear.
- Ensure the area behind your ear has no cuts, irritation, bumps, or tenderness.
- Carefully remove the patch from its packaging, making sure not to touch the adhesive side with your fingers.
- Place the patch on your skin with the adhesive side pressed down.
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
Once you have the patch in place, be sure to:
- avoid getting water on the patch
- apply a new patch if your patch falls off
- avoid cutting or trimming your patch if it becomes loose
- wear your patch for exactly as long as prescribed
It’s important to change your scopolamine patch according to the schedule your doctor prescribes. Changing your patch too early could put too much medication into your bloodstream, increasing the risk of side effects.
Scopolamine patches are often used to help prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness and some medications. These patches, worn behind the ear, may cause some side effects. Most side effects are mild and resolve quickly. Common side effects include dry mouth and drowsiness.
Rarely, serious side effects may occur, such as distorted vision, difficulty passing urine, heart palpitations, and hallucinations. If you experience any of these, remove your patch and get medical attention right away.
Before getting a prescription for a scopolamine patch, tell your doctor about your medical history and any medications and supplements you’re taking. Once you start using the patches, follow all instructions carefully to lower the risk of adverse side effects.