LATITUDE / ANDY
MASTERING MAL DE MER —
consume a lot of vitamin C, and drink a lot of water. This helps with the drug's side effects. "Several hours before departure, I tend to eat something light, but with protein/substance. Depending on conditions, I continue to take Meclizine for two or three days into the voyage. You need to stay warm and hydrated. If there are no 'conditions,' I stop taking it. Of course, the night before a voyage, it is also helpful not to eat anything spicy, avoid alcohol (especially tequila!), and to get a lot of sleep. On the rare occasion that I do feel sick, I 'let it all out' as soon
When sailing in 'confused' seas that are as high as your spreaders, even vastly experienced sailors can feel a little funky.
as possible (and not in the head). Trying to tough it out only prolongs the misery. These tricks are helpful to me, but I had a Clipper Round the World crewmate who never overcame seasickness. Sadly, after three months of trying to get over it, he had to leave the race." — Shana Bagley "Stick a cotton ball into the left ear! It's a pressure-point thing, apparently. That's worked during the last 15 years.
A SAILING DOC'S WARNING ABOUT STUGERON Although some sailors swear by Stugeron, others — such as West Coast sailor Roy Verdery, M.D. — give cogent arguments against its use. The following is an excerpt from his Letter to the Editor on the subject: I talked about medical preparations for cruising at the 2006 Zihuatanejo SailFest, and used that opportunity to review medications for seasickness — including StugeronT, which is a brand name for cinnarizine. Even though many people have found that cinnarizine is effective in preventing seasickness without noticeable side-effects, it is not a good drug. Cinnarizine is a ‘sloppy’ drug that interacts with at least three different receptors in the brain and the rest of the body, histamine and acetylcholine receptors like most drugs for seasickness, along with dopamine receptors. In addition, it is a calcium channel blocker. Incidentally, almost all adverse effects of cinnarizine are found by looking for information under the generic name. There is very little literature criticizing the brand name drug. Low-dose cinnarizine, 25 mg, is sold in many countries as StugeronT (among more than 40 brands) for vertigo and motion sickness. Cinnarizine is banned — even in low doses — by airline pilots in the United States because it impairs judgment. Higher dose cinnarizine, 75 mg, is sold as Stugeron ForteT in countries where it is available, and is used to relax arteries due to its calcium channel blocking effects. High doses have also been reported to unmask Parkinson’s disease, or make Parkinson’s disease worse due Page 88 •
• December, 2015
to blocking dopamine receptors. Drugs that have such different uses with such small differences in dose are just not good drugs — even if they are effective in some instances. In these many regards, cinnarizine is similar to other medications taken for nausea and seasickness — including PhenerganT and CompazineT, which are available in the US and have similar physical and psychological side effects. In fact, all of the drugs for seasickness, including original DramamineT, meclizine (nondrowsy DramamineT), and Transderm-scopT, have many signiﬁcant side-effects and need to be used with caution, especially if someone is operating complex and expensive equipment in situations where good judgment and clear thinking are critical. Cinnarizine is commonly sold in other countries as 25 mg tablets, but it is usually effective at lower doses. Cinnarizine is not safe for pregnant women, or children younger than ﬁve. People who have taken cinnarizine, and who have found it to work without side-effects, should take the lowest effective dose. But they should consult their physician, especially if they have Parkinson’s disease, take medications for depression, or have heart disease. Higher dose 75 mg tablets of cinnarizine, such as Stugeron ForteT, are aimed at a different problem than seasickness. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the FDA to approve it for sale in the United States. — Roy Verdery, M.D.
We've had 15,000 guests aboard our charter sailing boat Phantom in the beautiful Bay of Islands, of Northland, New Zealand. The only ones who got sick were two Dutch people — who we think wanted to be sick anyway. "It works: Shortly after sticking the cotton wool into their ear, green-looking people were asking what we were having for lunch. "Sitting under a palm tree is also a great remedy." — Rick Blomfield Phantom Yacht Charters "My wife swears by the electronic Sea Band — a pressure point device — that she wears on her wrist. We have two, one for her and one for any guest that might not do so well sailing. She even wears it when we fly. — Steve Lopes Blue Moon V "The ReliefBand is the only thing that has ever worked for me, and I have been sailing for 66 years. It is also good for cruise travel on ships. I used one while on the Baltic last summer on a 400-ft ship that was traveling through 12-foot seas. I was one of the few people left in the dining room sipping wine and enjoying a wonderful meal, all because of my ReliefBand. "I hope that this will help others. The real problem for me is its high cost." — Beverley Bryant I highly recommend the use of Promethazine (Phenergan) and Ephedrine, as defined in section 4. d. of the attached USCG document: "Commandant Instruction 6710.15D: Antimotion Sickness Medications." (I didn't discover this old CG document until recently). "A fellow cruiser gave me a few of these red-and-white pills while we were doing an ugly Baja Bash in 1989. I continued
The December 2015 issue of the West's premier sailing and marine magazine.