Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Betahistine

Betahistine is indicated for the treatment of nausea and vertigo, reducing both severity and frequency of these symptoms.

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Betahistine is the active ingredient of Serc .

General information

Betahistine is indicated for the treatment of nausea and vertigo, reducing both severity and frequency of these symptoms. It is of particular use in the symptomatic treatment of Ménière's disease, a condition caused by excess fluid in the ear. The medication is furthermore effective in treating ringing in the ears (tinnitus).

Betahistine has recently been found to be effective as a weight loss treatment.

How does betahistine work?

The effect of betahistine is probably the result of the medication dilating blood vessels within the middle ear, thereby reducing pressure associated with excess fluid.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 3

Available as: Tablets

What does it do? Helps for dizziness, nausea, ringing in the ear and motion sickness

Overdose risk: High

Dependence risk: Low

Available as a generic? No

Available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 1 hour

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Dietary advice: Take with a meal to prevent stomach upsets

Stopping: If betahistine is stopped suddenly, symptoms may recur. Use only as directed by your doctor

Prolonged use: No special problems

Special precautions

Alert your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have asthma. Because betahistine is a form of histamine, it may
  • theoretically trigger an asthma attack;
  • You have pheochromocytoma;
  • You have a stomach ulcer; or
  • You are taking any other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using it, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. This medication may cause serious adverse effects. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children.

Elderly: No special precautions need be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need be taken.

Possible side effects

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Nausea

x

x

Indigestion

x

x

Diarrhoea

x

x

Headache

x

x

Rash

x

x

Interactions

Drug interactions

Antihistamines

May lower the effect of betahistine

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have asthma, pheochromocytoma, or if you have (or have a history of) a stomach ulcer.

Overdose action

Seek immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms of overdose may include collapse.

Recommended dosage

Adults: 8-16mg 3 times daily

Interesting fact

Betahistine is claimed to be significantly more effective at helping people lose weight then anything else on the market at present. Those involved in clinical trials lost weight rapidly and experienced a distaste for fatty foods. The drug is currently undergoing approval for this indication in the US.

This material is not intended to substitute medical advice, but is for informational purposes only. Please consult a physician for specific treatment and recommendations.

 

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