Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013


Cinnarizine is an antihistamine useful for treating motion sickness and vertigo (the dizziness or spinning sensation associated with inner ear disturbances).


Cinnarizine is the active ingredient of Stugeron and Sandoz-Cinnarizine.

General Information

Cinnarizine is an antihistamine useful for treating motion sickness and vertigo (the dizziness or spinning sensation associated with inner ear disturbances). It is also effective for treating nausea and vomiting.

In higher doses cinnarizine has a dilating effect on blood vessels and is used in some circulation disorders.

To prevent motion sickness the drug should be taken 30 - 60 minutes prior to departure and the dose should be repeated every 6-8 hours.

How does cinnarizine work?

Cinnarizine is thought to interfere with signal transmission between the middle ear and the hypothalamus, the part of the brain where nausea and vomiting are controlled.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 2

Available as: Cinnarizine is available as tablets and capsules.

What does it do? Cinnarizine has an anti-nausea and anti-dizziness effect.

Overdose risk: Medium

Dependence risk: Low

Is cinnarizine available as a generic? Yes

Is cinnarizine available on prescription only? No

User information

Onset of effect: Within 30 minutes

Duration of action: Up to 8 hours

Stopping this medicine: When taken to treat or prevent motion sickness, cinnarizine can be safely stopped when no longer needed. However, if your doctor prescribed this drug for another reason, you should not stop using it before consultation.

Prolonged use: Prolonged use may be associated with movement disorders, particularly in the elderly.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have low blood pressure
  • You have porphyria
  • You have glaucoma
  • You have an enlarged prostate
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. Potential risk to the foetus has been reported. Consult your doctor before use, 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: A reduced dose is needed if prescribed for children.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: Caution is advised as use of this medication may lead to dizziness, light-headedness and/or sedation. Avoid such activities until you know how this medication affects you.

Alcohol: Avoid concomitant use of alcohol with this medication, as it may increase the sedative effects of cinnarizine.

Possible side effects

Side effect


Consult your doctor



Only if severe

In all cases




Dry mouth/constipation



Blurred vision



Rash/itchy skin




Drug interactions


Increased risk of sedation


Increased risk of sedation


Increased risk of sedation

Other antihistamines

Increased risk of sedation

Overdose action

An overdose of this medication can be fatal. Seek immediate emergency medical attention. Symptoms may include hallucinations, convulsions, dilated pupils, and coma.

Recommended dosage

Adults 25 mg 3 times daily (maximum 225 mg/day)


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