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Types of Antiemetic Drugs

Updated February 21, 2019

Antiemetics are drugs used to control nausea and vomiting. These drugs are taken before surgical operations, during bouts of sickness, or after feeling queasy and unwell. You can purchase over-the-counter (OTC) antiemetics from your local pharmacy or have them prescribed by your physician.

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Bismuth Subsalicylate

This antiemetic can be purchases OTC under the name Pepto-Bismol or Kaopectate. It is used to treat nausea, vomiting and upset stomach. It can also be useful in treating diarrhoea.


These work by preventing motion sickness. They can be purchases OTC under the names dimenhydrinate (Dramamine) and meclizine hydrochloride (Dramamine Less Drowsy). These work better if taken before you get sick.


This is a form of antihistamine used to treat motion sickness, allergy symptoms and effects of sedation. It is also known under the name phenergan and mepergan. It is given by your doctor as an intramuscular injection, or prescribed as a suppository or syrup.

Serotonin Receptor Antagonists

These drugs are used after an operation to control nausea and vomiting caused by anaesthesia or pain medication. They are also used for patients undergoing chemotherapy.


This antiemetic is also known under the name Marinol. It is used to stop anorexia in AIDS patients. Marinol is also used in cancer patients who have not responded to other forms of antiemetics.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.

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