Hyoscine for travel sickness - Joy Rides, Kwells, Scopoderm TTS

Follow the dosage directions on the label or pack. Do not take more than the dose recommended.

If you are taking tablets, take a dose about 30 minutes before you travel.

If you have been prescribed a patch, apply it to the skin behind your ear 5-6 hours before your journey starts.

Hyoscine may make you sleepy. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines.

Type of medicine An anti-sickness medicine
Used for Prevention of travel sickness
Also called Joy Rides® (as hyoscine hydrobromide); Kwells® (as hyoscine hydrobromide); Scopoderm TTS®
Available as Tablets, chewable tablets, and patches

Travel (motion) sickness is quite common. It can occur when travelling by car, boat, plane or train. It is particularly common in children. It is caused by repeated unusual movements. Movements such as going over bumps or round corners send lots of messages to your brain. The balance mechanisms in your inner ear feel different signals to those that your eyes are seeing. This sends your brain confusing messages and is what makes you feel sick.

Hyoscine is the most effective medicine for travel sickness. It works by preventing the confusing messages going to your brain. There are a number of different brands of tablet available which contain hyoscine as a salt called hyoscine hydrobromide. You can buy these without a prescription at pharmacies. There are two strengths of tablets available: 300 microgram tablets for adults, and 150 microgram tablets for children. The dose for younger children will require halving a tablet. There is also a product called Scopoderm TTS® which is only available on prescription. This is a patch for people aged 10 years or over. You stick the patch on to the skin behind your ear 5-6 hours before your journey, and then remove it at the end of the journey. The patch releases hyoscine through your skin and into your bloodstream.

One of the other effects of hyoscine is that it causes a dry mouth. It is sometimes prescribed by doctors for this reason, rather than to prevent travel sickness. There is a also a similar sounding medicine called hyoscine butylbromide. This is an antispasmodic medicine which is used to relieve pain caused by abdominal cramps. There is more information about this in a separate medicine leaflet called Hyoscine butylbromide.

To make sure this is the right treatment for you, before you (or your child) start taking hyoscine, it is important that your doctor or pharmacist knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you are unwell and have a high temperature.
  • If you have digestive system problems such as reflux disease, diarrhoea, or ulcerative colitis.
  • If you have an eye condition called glaucoma.
  • If you have high blood pressure, a fast heart rate, or any other heart problems.
  • If you have problems with your liver, kidneys or prostate gland.
  • If you have epilepsy.
  • If you have a condition causing muscle weakness, called myasthenia gravis.
  • If you have Down's syndrome.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack. It will give you more information about hyoscine, including a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Recommended doses are as follows:
    • For adults and children over 10 years of age: 150-300 micrograms.
    • For those aged 4-10 years: 75-150 micrograms.
    • For those aged 3-4 years: 75 micrograms.
  • You should take a dose of tablets 30-60 minutes before the start of the journey, and then repeat the dose after six hours if needed. There is a maximum number of tablets that can be taken in any 24-hour period, so remember to check the directions on the label carefully to make sure that you (or your child) do not take more than the recommended daily amount.
  • Read the label on the pack carefully to see whether the tablets should be sucked or chewed, or simply swallowed with a drink of water.
  • If you have been prescribed Scopoderm TTS® skin patches, stick one patch to the skin just behind your ear 5-6 hours before the start of your journey and remember to remove it after your arrival. The effect of the patch can last up to 72 hours, so it is suitable for people taking long journeys. Remember to wash your hands after handling the patches, and also it is important to wash behind your ear after you have removed the patch. This is to make sure you remove any remaining traces of hyoscine from your skin.
  • Hyoscine can make you sleepy, and if you are using the patches, you may still feel sleepy the following day. If this happens, do not drive or use tools or machines. Also, avoid drinking alcohol, as this will increase the feelings of sleepiness.
  • When you buy any medicines, you should always check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take alongside your other medicines. This is particularly important with hyoscine because it can increase the side-effects from some other treatments.
  • Other things which can help to prevent travel sickness are:
    • Looking out of a window or sitting with your head tilted slightly backwards.
    • Taking regular breaks in your journey to have some fresh air and drink some cold water.
    • Breathing deeply and slowly while you listen to music.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains some of the most common ones associated with hyoscine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.

Common hyoscine side-effects What can I do if I experience this?
Feeling sleepy or dizzy Do not drive or use tools or machines until you feel well again. Do not drink alcohol
Problems with your eyesight, such as sensitivity to light or blurred vision Wearing dark glasses may help light sensitivity. Do not drive or use tools or machines unless you can see clearly
Dry mouth Try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sweets
Constipation Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of water
Feeling flushed and hot Try to keep cool and drink plenty of water so that you do not dehydrate
Problems passing urine, dry skin If troublesome, speak with your doctor
  • 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 you or someone else 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.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

Do not 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

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 Adrian Bonsall
Last Checked:
13/05/2014
Document ID:
3297 (v27)
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