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How to Relieve Nausea - Medications and Home Remedies

Written and medically reviewed by Dorcas Morak, Pharm.D

Nausea is an uncomfortable stomach sensation that may result in vomiting. Nausea can be caused by taking medicine on an empty stomach, overeating, becoming car sick, eating something unpleasant, or early pregnancy. Here are medications and remedies to help relieve nausea.

Medications

How do nausea medications work? How medications work depends on the one you take. Some medications block the receptor that causes the nausea sensation. Others work by coating and calming the stomach wall. There are also medications that help alleviate nausea by quickly moving food through the stomach.

Which nausea medications are available over-the-counter? The available OTC nausea drugs include prochlorperazine (Compro), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), meclizine (Bonine), Emetrol (phosphorated carbohydrate), and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol).

Are there prescription nausea drugs?

Your doctor may prescribe any of these nausea medications:

Which nausea medications are safe during pregnancy?

Safe nausea medications in pregnancy include metoclopramide (Reglan), meclizine (Bonine), and Emetrol (phosphorated carbohydrate). Always ask your pharmacist or doctor before taking nausea drugs during pregnancy.

What home remedies can I try?

There are many popular home remedies to relieve nausea sensation. These include:

  • bland foods and beverages like water, saltine crackers, Jell-o, or broth and avoiding heavy, greasy, sweet, or spicy foods
  • ginger – ginger is effective and safe during pregnancy; try ginger tea, ginger capsules, or ginger candy
  • lemon – inhaled lemon scent reduces nausea and vomiting, including in those who are pregnant or suffering from cancer
  • staying hydrated - dehydration can cause electrolyte imbalance and induce nausea
  • aromatherapy – aromatherapy with peppermint oil, cardamom oil, and lavender essential oisl reduces nausea
  • acupressure – applying pressure on specific points on the body can relieve nausea
  • vitamin B6 – taking vitamin B6 suppresses nausea in chemotherapy patients and pregnant women
  • herbal tea – herbal tea can soothe an upset stomach and ease nausea
  • sitting upright – sitting in a position that doesn’t put pressure on the stomach can reduce nausea
  • vomiting – vomiting to expel stomach contents can sometimes be the best way to relieve nausea, especially when it comes to food poisoning (don't induce vomiting unless instructed by a doctor or other medical expert; let it come naturally)
  • breathing exercises – controlled breathing has been found to relieve chemotherapy-induced nausea (breathe in slowly, hold it for about seven seconds, then release it gradually over eight seconds)
  • cool, fresh air – exposure to fresh air can calm nausea sensations

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

Nausea is often benign and does not warrant visiting a doctor. On the other hand, nausea can be a symptom of an underlining health condition that may be fatal. Seek medical attention if you also experience any of these symptoms:

  • chest pains
  • dehydration
  • blurred vision
  • blood in vomit
  • severe headache
  • high fever
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • severe abdominal cramping
  • confusion

What potentially fatal conditions can cause nausea?

Nausea can be a symptom of a more severe condition such as:

  • kidney failure
  • meningitis
  • heart attack
  • intracranial pressure due to traumatic brain injury
  • vestibular disorders
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • exposure to toxins

Can nausea be a symptom of COVID-19?

If you experience some of the symptoms below along with nausea, you should contact your healthcare provider to rule out COVID-19:

  • cough
  • fever
  • chills
  • body aches
  • headache
  • fatigue
  • loss of taste or smell
  • sore throat
  • diarrhea

rxless can help!

Trouble affording your prescriptions shouldn’t keep you from getting treatment. Contact rxless to find out how much you can save on prescription medications like Zofran that can help you manage your nausea. Our rxless prescription savings card is accepted at most pharmacies, including CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens.