Cyclizine

Easy-to-read medicine information about cyclizine – what it is, how to take cyclizine safely and possible side effects.

Type of medicine Also called
  • Used to treat nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting (being sick)
  • Belongs to groups of medicines called antihistamines
  • Nausicalm®
  • Nauzene®

What is cyclizine?

Cyclizine is used for nausea (feeling sick) or vomiting (being sick), caused by motion sickness, vertigo or Meniere's disease. It can also be used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by other medications. It works by blocking certain chemicals (histamines) in the brain that cause nausea and vomiting.

Cyclizine is available as an injection or as tablets (50 mg). In New Zealand, cyclizine tablets can be bought from a pharmacy without a prescription, after consultation with a pharmacist (pharmacist-only medicine). 

Dose

  • The dose of cyclizine is 1 tablet (50 mg) up to 3 times a day.
  • When used for motion sickness, it should be taken at least 1 to 2 hours before departing. If you are going on a long journey, you can then take further doses every 8 hours if needed.

How to use cyclizine

  • Take cyclizine with a glass of water.
  • You can take it with or without food.
  • Limit drinking alcohol while you are taking cyclizine. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects such as drowsiness.
  • It is not harmful if you miss a dose of cyclizine. If you forget your dose, take it as soon as you remember. But, if it is nearly time for your next dose, just take the next dose at the right time. Do not take double the dose.    

Precautions - before starting cyclizine

  • Are you pregnant or breast-feeding?
  • Do you have problems with your liver or kidneys?
  • Do you have heart failure?
  • Do you have glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye)?
  • Do you have epilepsy?
  • Do you have problems passing urine or prostate problems?
  • Are taking any other medicines? This includes any medicines you are taking which you can buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.

If so, it’s important that you tell your doctor or pharmacist before you start cyclizine. Sometimes a medicine isn’t suitable for a person with certain conditions, or it can only be used with extra care.

Possible side effects

Like all medicines, cyclizine can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them. Often side effects go away once your body gets used to the new medicine.

Side effects What should I do?
Drowsiness
Dizziness
  • Be careful when driving or using tools until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • These effects put you at risk of falls, and injuries especially if you are elderly. Tell your doctor if you are concerned.
  • Do not drink alcohol.
Dry mouth 
  • Experiencing a dry mouth is common when taking cyclizine
  • Try sucking on ice chips, or lollies or drink small sips of water
  • Read more about dry mouth
Blurred vision or fast heart rate
  • See your doctor
Constipation
  • Eat a high fibre diet which includes a lot of fruit, vegetables, brown bread, bran-based breakfast cereals
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Talk to your doctor if you are in discomfort
  • Read more about constipation

Interactions

Cyclizine can interact with some medicines and herbal supplements so check with your doctor or pharmacist before starting cyclizine or before starting any new medicines.

Learn more

The following links have more information on cyclizine. Be aware that websites from other countries may contain information that differs from New Zealand recommendations.

Cyclizine Patient Info, UK

References

  1. Cyclizine New Zealand Formulary
Credits: Sandra Ponen, Pharmacist. Reviewed By: Angela Lambie, Pharmacist, Auckland Last reviewed: 08 Feb 2019