Over the Counter Medications for Nausea

Nausea, also called emesis and often associated with vomiting, is usually indicative of another condition 1. According to MedlinePlus, nausea is a common condition, but if poisoning is suspected, or the nausea is accompanied by bloody vomit, stomach pain, stiff neck or has been ongoing for over 24 hours, medical attention should be sought 1. If nausea is thought to be of a temporary nature, anti-emetic medications can be bought over-the-counter for relief.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Bismuth Subsalicylates

Bismuth subsalicylates act directly on the mucosa, or lining, of the stomach, changing the acidity and suppressing the urge to vomit. FamilyDoctor.org states that it can be used in cases of stomach flu, upset stomach and diarrhea. Side effects include dark stools, ringing in the ear, constipation and discolored tongue. Bismuth subsalicylates should not be taken if an allergy to salicylates, such as aspirin, is present or to children under 12 years of age. It should not be given to anyone under 18 years of age who has chicken pox or the flu. Common OTC brands are Bepto-Bismol and Kaopectate.


Antihistamines block the inner ear's sense of motion, thus dulling the sensation of nausea. FamilyDoctor.org suggests medicating prior to a situation where nausea could be a problem, such as with motion sickness. Antihistamines may cause drowsiness, so operating any moving vehicle while medicated is inadvisable. If high blood pressure, glaucoma, breathing difficulties or heart disease is present, medical advise should be sought prior to administering. Common brand names are Dramamine, Bonine and Gravol.


The University of Maryland Medical Center states that ginger has been used in China for over 2,000 years to treat nausea, diarrhea and upset stomach 3. Ginger, as of 2010, is being recommended by a number of health care professionals to treat nausea associated with pregnancy, stomach upset, motion sickness and chemotherapy. It is not advised for children under 2 years of age. It is available fresh, in capsules, as tinctures and as oil.