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Microgravity Q. 1992 Jul;2(3):173-7.

Comparison of treatment strategies for Space Motion Sickness.

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, USA.


Treatment strategies for Space Motion Sickness were compared using the results of postflight oral debriefings. Standardized questionnaires were administered to all crewmembers immediately following Space Shuttle flights by NASA flight surgeons. Cases of Space Motion Sickness were graded as mild, moderate or severe based on published criteria, and medication effectiveness was judged based on subjective reports of symptom relief. Since October 1989, medication effectiveness is reported inflight through Private Medical Conferences with the crew. A symptom matrix was analyzed for 19 crewmembers treated with an oral combination of scopolamine and dextroamphetamine (scopdex) and 15 crewmembers treated with promethazine delivered by intramuscular (IM) or suppository routes. Scopdex has been given preflight as prophaxis for Space Motion Sickness but analysis showed delayed symptom presentation in 9 crewmembers or failed to prevent symptoms in 7. Only three crewmembers who took scopdex had no symptoms inflight. Fourteen out of 15 crewmembers treated with IM promethazine and 6 of 8 treated with promethazine suppositories after symptom development had immediate (within 12 h) symptom relief and required no additional medication. There were no cases of delayed symptom presentation in the crewmembers treated with promethazine. This response is in contrast to untreated crewmembers who typically have slow symptom resolution over 72-96 h. We conclude that promethazine is an effective treatment of Space Motion Sickness symptoms inflight. NASA policy currently recommends treating crewmembers with Space Motion Sickness after symptom development, and no longer recommends prophylaxis with scopdex due to delayed symptom development and apparent variable absorption of oral medications during early flight days.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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