Cinnarizine helps to prevent 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.
|Type of medicine||An antihistamine|
|Used for||Travel sickness; symptoms caused by balance or movement problems such as vertigo, tinnitus, and Ménière's disease|
Arlevert® (a combination brand of cinnarizine with dimenhydrinate to treat vertigo)
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 and a spinning sensation (vertigo), and can make you feel sick.
Travel sickness is caused by repeated unusual movements during travelling. These repeated movements, such as going over bumps or around 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 helps reduce the feelings of sickness and vertigo caused by problems such as these. It is available on prescription, or you can buy it without a prescription at a pharmacy. It can be taken by adults and by children over the age of 5 years.
Before taking cinnarizine
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 or breastfeeding.
- If you have prostate problems, or have been experiencing difficulty passing urine.
- If you have any problems with the way your liver works or with the way your kidneys work.
- If you have any of the following conditions: increased pressure in your eye (glaucoma), epilepsy, or Parkinson's disease.
- If you think you may have a blockage in your intestines.
- If you have a rare inherited blood disorder called porphyria.
- If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, as well as herbal and complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
How to take cinnarizine
- Before you start this treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. It will give you more information about the tablets and will provide you with a full list of the side-effects which you may experience from taking them.
- Take cinnarizine exactly as your doctor or pharmacist tells you to. It is usually taken three times daily.
- If you are taking cinnarizine to prevent 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 a child, check the label carefully to make sure you are giving the correct dose for the age of your child. Make sure you leave eight hours between each dose.
- If you are able, take cinnarizine after a meal or with a snack.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Cinnarizine can cause drowsiness. If this happens, do not drive and do not 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 an antihistamine called cinnarizine.
- If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are safe to take alongside an antihistamine. This is because a number of other medicines can interfere with the way cinnarizine works and can increase the risk of side-effects.
Can cinnarizine cause problems?
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 cinnarizine. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine. The unwanted effects often improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following continue or become troublesome.
|Common cinnarizine side-effects (these affect less than 1 in 10 people)||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Feeling sleepy||If this happens, do not drive and do not use tools or machines. Do not drink alcohol|
|Other cinnarizine side-effects||What can I do if I experience this?|
|Headache, dry mouth, indigestion, stomach upset||These should soon pass, but if any become troublesome ask a pharmacist to recommend a suitable remedy|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to the tablets, speak with your doctor or pharmacist for further advice.
How to store cinnarizine
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. 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.
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 and references
; Janssen-Cilag Ltd, The electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated September 2013.
British National Formulary, 75th Edition (Mar 2018); British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.