Scopolamine is a tropane alkaloid drug which has muscarinic antagonist effects on the body. It is obtained from plants that belong to the family of Solanaceae. It is a secondary metabolite of these plants. Scopolamine patch is a type of transdermal patch which has anticholinergic properties. Scopolamine in patch form is used in the treatment of motion sickness. This patch gradually releases very small doses of scopolamine (330 micrograms) on a daily basis. Scopolamine helps to prevent nausea and vomiting that is associated with motion sickness. It works by blocking the transmission of impulses at nerve sites in the gastrointestinal tract and at the vomiting center in the brain. It is also used to help a patient recover from anesthesia, which is the reason why scopolamine patch for secretions inhibition is a common indication. Given below are details regarding the use of scopolamine, precautions to be taken while using this transdermal patch and its potential side effects.
Scopolamine Patch Usage Instructions
The use of scopolamine transdermal patch is very simple. A person needs to wear only one patch at a time. Ideally, the person needs to place the patch behind the ear, in a region where there is no hair. Ensure that you do not place the patch on irritated or broken skin. If at all, the patch happens to become loose, then remove it and place a fresh patch in its place. One patch should not be worn for more than three days. If a person happens to miss a dose of scopolamine, then he should use the patch immediately. If a person misses his dose and it is time for the next dose, then do not use two patches at a time. Excessive use of this transdermal patch can lead to scopolamine patch withdrawal symptoms. If you have any doubts about the dosage, then ask the doctor about it before experimenting with the dose.
Scopolamine Patch Side Effects
There are a few side effects of using scopolamine. The side effects are mostly seen due to the anticholinergic effects of the drug. These include drowsiness, mental confusion and disorientation, dry mouth, blurred vision, dilated pupils, hallucinations, difficulty urinating, etc. Sometimes, the person may also have dermal reactions, like development of a rash. The person will basically have less secretions in the body, which will lead to dry mouth, dry throat and dry nasal passages. If a person overdoses on a scopolamine patch, then he may even have impaired speech, increased thirst, sensitivity to light (photophobia), constipation, tachycardia. In rare cases, the person may even feel very dizzy. There may also be slight fever and flushing, excitement, restlessness and delirium.
Scopolamine Patch Precautions
A person should not use this transdermal patch if he is allergic to any ingredient in the patch. Also, the use of this patch is contraindicated in patients that have narrow angle glaucoma, difficulty in swallowing, bowel problems like bowel blockage or muscle weakness, ulcerative colitis, acid reflux disease, bleeding disorders, myasthenia gravis, etc. Also, one needs to contact the doctor before using a scopolamine patch in the following conditions:
- If a person is pregnant or lactating
- If a person is on some other prescription drugs like beta blockers or phenothiazines or is taking some dietary supplements
- If the person has certain allergies to medicines or food
- If a person is going to need to get an MRI scan done
This was all about the various instructions regarding the use of scopolamine, indications and precautions that need to be taken when dealing with this transdermal patch. One of the main deterring factors for many is the scopolamine patch cost, because one dose of scopolamine tablet is said to cost less than 10% of the cost of the patch. However, this is one of the most effective ways of dealing with motion sickness and is turning out to be the choice of treatment for patient with long standing motion sickness.