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What Are the Best Medications for Nausea?

cartoon woman holding mouth with pill bottles next to her

Key Takeaway

  • Many effective anti-nausea medications are available to alleviate discomfort. Determining the right one depends on the cause of your symptoms.

  • The best OTC medications for nausea include Pepto-Bismol, Dramamine, and Emetrol.

  • Prescription medications such as Zofran, Reglan, Compro, and Phenergan are commonly prescribed to treat nausea. 

Nausea, a sensation often accompanied by the feeling of potential vomiting, can result from various triggers such as food poisoning, medication taken on an empty stomach, motion sickness, or pregnancy-related morning sickness. 

Many effective anti-nausea medications are available to alleviate discomfort. Please continue reading to learn more about the best prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines available to treat nausea. 

What medications are used to control nausea?

Over-the-Counter Antiemetics (Anti-Nausea Medicines)

  • Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate): Commonly used when someone has gastroenteritis (stomach flu), Pepto-Bismol reduces stomach acid and protects the stomach lining while easing discomfort and nausea.

  • Emetrol (phosphorated carbohydrate): Similar to Pepto-Bismol, Emetrol is one of the OTC medicines that help alleviate nausea associated with stomach flu.

  • Antihistamines that provide OTC relief of nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness:

    • Dramamine (dimenhydrinate): This anti-nausea medication works by blocking the vomiting reflex. It is used for nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness. Learn what to avoid when taking Dramamine.

    • Bonine, Dramamine Less Drowsy (meclizine): This is an antihistamine that can manage nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.

    • Benadryl (diphenhydramine): this OTC product is often used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness.

The following over-the-counter medicines for nausea are also available by prescription:

  • Dimenhydrinate injection - used for nausea, vomiting, and vertigo.

  • Meclizine (Antivert) - used at higher doses for vertigo.

Trying to choose between meclizine vs Dramamine for vertigo? Check out our blog.

Prescription Anti-Nausea and Antiemetic Medicines

  • Zofran (ondansetron): Zofran belongs to a group of drugs called serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. Ondansetron controls nausea by blocking the action of a chemical called serotonin. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting, which is the most common side effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. Learn how often you can take Zofran for nausea.

  • Phenergan (promethazine): Promethazine’s drug class is phenothiazines; however, it also provides antihistamine effects. It is used to treat nausea/vomiting after surgery; it is also used as a sleep aid and to treat allergy symptoms.

  • Reglan (metoclopramide): This anti-nausea medication relieves nausea, vomiting, and upset stomach by blocking the action of dopamine and speeding up the emptying of the stomach.

  • Compro (prochlorperazine): This medication belongs to a drug class called phenothiazines; it is available as a rectal suppository to treat severe nausea and vomiting. 

What is the most effective anti-nausea medication? 

Different anti-nausea medicines work in different ways. The most effective anti-nausea medicine for you will likely depend on the underlying cause (the health condition that creates nausea).

  • Salicylate medicines like Pepto-Bismol work well for nausea caused by an upset stomach due to stomach flu. 

  • Antihistamines like promethazine are effective when nausea is caused by motion sickness or inner ear problems (vertigo).

  • Dopamine antagonists like prochlorperazine are useful in treating nausea caused by cancer drugs, radiation, and opiate medications.

  • Metoclopramide acts directly on the gut and helps ease nausea caused by stomach problems or migraines.

  • Ondansetron is often part of the treatment plan for cancer patients to prevent chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. This medication is also used as an antiemetic after surgery.

A healthcare provider can help you decide which anti-nausea medication is best for you, depending on the cause of nausea and other health conditions. Consulting a doctor will also ensure that your anti-nausea drug does not interact with your other medications. 

Trying to decide what foods to eat when nauseous and what foods to avoid? Check out our blog.

Safety and Side Effects

Special consideration is advised for pregnant women, who should consult a doctor before taking any medication for nausea to ensure the safety for the baby. Common side effects associated with each type of medication should also be noted, as well as interactions with other medications.

When to see a doctor for nausea and vomiting?

It is usually okay to treat occasional, mild nausea and vomiting with over-the-counter medicine or a natural remedy. However, you should see a healthcare provider if nausea and vomiting last more than two days in adults and children over the age of 2, more than 24 hours in children under the age of 2, or more than 12 hours in babies. 

You should also seek medical attention if you have on-and-off episodes of nausea and vomiting for more than a month or if you have unexplained weight loss or other symptoms accompanying nausea and vomiting.

Read our blog to learn more about when to seek medical attention for vomiting.

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Remember, these coupons are widely accepted at over 60,000 pharmacies, including major chains like CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid. Just present your coupon at the pharmacy to ensure you're getting the best possible price.



    1. https://patient.info/digestive-health/nausea-and-vomiting/medicines-for-nausea#

    2. https://familydoctor.org/antiemetic-medicines-otc-relief-for-nausea-and-vomiting/

    3. https://www.pharmacytimes.com/view/antiemetics-0710