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What can you take for nausea relief? 20 nausea medications and remedies

We’ve all felt nauseated before, whether from getting car sick, eating something unpleasant, or taking medicine on an empty stomach. Nausea—the sensation of an upset stomach that can sometimes lead to vomiting—is not an enjoyable feeling. But thankfully, there are nausea medications and home remedies for nausea relief (even during pregnancy).

RELATED: How to treat nausea in pregnancy

How to get rid of nausea

“Nausea can be prompted by a wide variety of circumstances such as motion or sea sickness, certain medications, emotional distress, intense pain, food intolerances, drinking too much alcohol, overeating, and early pregnancy,” explains Sunitha Posina, MD, an NYC-based internist.

There are two primary ways to treat nausea: nausea medication and home remedies. Medications work in a variety of ways, depending on which drug you take. One way anti-nausea drugs work is by blocking the receptors that cause the sensation of nausea. Another way is to coat and calm the stomach. Some nausea medicines may also move food through the stomach faster.

Nausea medication 

Anti-nausea medications work in a variety of ways. One of the most popular over-the-counter medicines for nausea, Pepto Bismol, contains an active ingredient called bismuth subsalicylate (bismuth subsalicylate coupons | bismuth subsalicylate details). “Bismuth subsalicylate works by protecting your stomach lining and reduces excess stomach acid to ease any discomfort,” Dr. Posina says. 

Dramamine (dramamine coupons | dramamine details) is an antiemetic, which means it prevents vomiting. It used to prevent and treat nausea, vomiting, and dizziness caused by motion sickness. It works by blocking receptors in your gut that trigger nausea in the brain. “It may cause drowsiness, so opt for the non-drowsy formula if that is a concern,” Dr. Posina suggests. 

Emetrol, another popular over-the-counter medication, works immediately by calming the stomach. Emetrol (emetrol coupon | emetrol details) has fewer common side effects when compared to Dramamine. Many antihistamines are used as nausea medications as they are good at reducing the sensation of nausea from motion sickness.

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We have created a list of the most popular prescription drugs and over-the-counter nausea medicines on the market. 

Best anti-nausea medications

Medication OTC or Rx Safe during pregnancy? SingleCare coupon
Zofran (ondansetron) Rx No evidence of risk, but data is conflicting Get Coupon
Promethegan (promethazine) Rx Risk cannot be ruled out – Category C Get Coupon
Phenergan (promethazine) Rx Risk cannot be ruled out – Category C Get Coupon
Reglan (metoclopramide) Rx No evidence of risk Get Coupon
Compro (prochlorperazine) Rx & OTC FDA has not classified this drug Get Coupon
Ativan (lorazepam) Rx Positive evidence of risk Get Coupon
Dramamine (dimenhydrinate) Rx & OTC No evidence of risk – Category B Get Coupon
Bonine (meclizine) Rx & OTC No evidence of risk Get Coupon
Atarax (hydroxyzine) Rx  FDA has not classified this drug Get Coupon
Emetrol (phosphorated carbohydrate) OTC FDA has not classified this drug Get Coupon
Scopolamine Rx Risk cannot be ruled out – Category C Get Coupon
Driminate (dimenhydrinate) Rx & OTC No evidence of risk – Category B Get Coupon
Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate) OTC Risk cannot be ruled out – Category C Get Coupon

Home remedies for nausea relief

There are many popular home remedies you can try to help alleviate nausea. Here is a list of some of the most helpful home treatments.

Bland foods 

To help calm the stomach and relieve nausea symptoms, “consume clear fluids like water, Jell-O, or broth and gradually introduce bland food, like crackers or plain bread, as tolerated,” suggests Lili Barsky, MD, an LA-based hospitalist and urgent-care physician. “Avoid heavy, greasy, sweet, or spicy foods.” Eating bland foods is also helpful if you frequently experience heartburn.

RELATED: What to eat when you have the flu

Cannabinoids

One of the first medical benefits found for cannabis was nausea treatment. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved two cannabinoid receptor agonists for patients receiving chemotherapy to help alleviate nausea—Marinol (dronabinol) and Cesamet (nabilone). In addition to their anti-nausea properties, cannabinoids can also stimulate a person’s appetite. You might also explore CBD oil as a natural solution for nausea.

Ginger

Ginger is one of the safest home remedies for nausea during pregnancy. Taking 1 gram of ginger each day is an effective way to control nausea and vomiting in pregnant women across multiple studies. Most drugstores sell ginger capsules, but ginger candy is also an option. For children suffering from nausea, ginger ale is a popular drink to help with symptoms. 

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy will relieve nausea fast. Peppermint oil aromatherapy is effective against nausea. One study found that postoperative patients with nausea had their perception of nausea decreased by 50% when using peppermint oil aromatherapy. Lemon aromatherapy may have similar results to peppermint oil, as well as cardamom aromas, which have had positive benefits with chemotherapy patients. 

Acupressure

Acupressure is an alternative therapy. Similar to acupuncture, acupressure is done by applying pressure to specific points in the body. There are findings that acupressure can be useful in alleviating stomach issues.

Vitamin B6

Taking vitamin B6 has been proven helpful for chemotherapy patients and pregnant women experiencing morning sickness. However, research has not shown its effectiveness in managing nausea. One study found that 42% of people had less nausea after this technique.

Herbal tea

Herbal teas can help soothe an upset stomach. Lemon, ginger, and peppermint herbal teas are good options since these herbs are good for nausea. This hot drink will help settle an upset stomach.

Is it nausea or something else? When to see a doctor

“Nausea may often have a benign cause but can also be a harbinger of something dangerous,” Dr. Barsky says. “If nausea persists, recurs, worsens, or is accompanied by other symptoms, one should consider seeking medical attention.”

If you have the following symptoms in addition to nausea, seek medical advice immediately:

  • Chest pains
  • Dehydration
  • Severe abdominal cramping
  • Blood in vomit
  • Severe headache
  • High fever
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision or visual changes
  • Dizziness 
  • Weakness

The combination of these symptoms with nausea can be an indicator of a more serious condition including kidney failure, meningitis, heart attack, intracranial pressure due to concussion or traumatic brain injuries, vestibular disorders, or carbon monoxide poisoning along with other toxin exposure.

Keep in mind that nausea is also a symptom of COVID-19. If you’re unsure what’s causing your nausea and if any of the following symptoms accompany it, it’s best to speak with your healthcare provider to rule out coronavirus:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhea