Cinnarizine - an antihistamine

  • Cinnarizine helps to reduce sickness and dizziness. It can be taken by adults and by children over 5 years of age.
  • The most common side-effect is feeling drowsy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.
Type of medicine Antihistamine
Used for Symptoms caused by balance or movement problems such as vertigo, tinnitus, and Ménière's disease
Travel sickness
Also called Mylan® Travel Sickness
Stugeron®
Arlevert® (cinnarizine with dimenhydrinate)
Available as Tablets

Nerves situated inside your ear send messages to your brain with information about your movement. Along with messages from your eyes and muscles, these nerves help your body to maintain a good sense of balance. If the nerves in one of your ears send too many, too few, or wrong messages to your brain, it conflicts with the messages sent from your other ear, your eyes, or your body. Your brain then gets confused and this can cause dizziness, vertigo (a spinning sensation), tinnitus (a buzzing or ringing in your ears), and can make you feel sick. Cinnarizine helps reduce the feelings of sickness, vertigo and tinnitus caused by problems such as this.

Cinnarizine is also helpful in preventing travel sickness. Travel sickness is caused by repeated unusual movements during travelling. These repeated movements, such as going over bumps or round in a circle, send lots of messages to your brain. The balance mechanism in your ear sends different signals to those from your eyes, which results in your brain receiving mixed and confusing messages. This is what causes you to feel sick.

Cinnarizine is available on prescription, or you can buy it at pharmacies, without a prescription. It can be taken by adults and by children over the age of 5 years.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking cinnarizine it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
  • If you have liver or kidney problems.
  • If you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye).
  • If you have epilepsy.
  • If you have Parkinson's disease.
  • If you have prostate problems, or have been experiencing difficulty passing urine.
  • If you know you have a blockage in your small intestines.
  • If you have porphyria (a rare blood disorder).
  • If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The leaflet will give you more information about the specific brand of cinnarizine you have been given, and a full list of possible side-effects from taking it.
  • Take cinnarizine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist has told you to.
  • If you are taking cinnarizine to relieve travel sickness, take the first dose two hours before you are due to travel. If you are going on a long journey, you can then take further doses every eight hours if needed. If you are giving cinnarizine to your child, check the label carefully to make sure you are giving the correct doses for the age of your child. Make sure you leave eight hours between each dose.
  • If you are able, take cinnarizine with a snack or just after eating a light meal. This will help to prevent any stomach upset.
  • Cinnarizine may cause drowsiness and blurred vision. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Alcohol will make the drowsiness worse, so it is best not to drink alcohol while you are on cinnarizine.
  • If you are having an operation or any treatment (particularly if it is to test for an allergy), tell the person carrying out the treatment that you are taking cinnarizine.
  • If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take with cinnarizine.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome

Common cinnarizine side-effects - these affect less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol
Indigestion, feeling sick Stick to simple meals - avoid rich and spicy food

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
  • Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that someone has taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital at once. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.
  • This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.
  • Never keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.
  • If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

  • British National Formulary; 62nd Edition (Sep 2011) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London
  • Manufacturer's PIL, Stugeron┬« 15 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Stugeron┬« 15 mg, Janssen-Cilag Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated June 2011.

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Dr Hannah Gronow
Last Checked:
18/04/2012
Document ID:
3303 (v24)
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