Meclizine: effective long-term dizziness solution?

When I described my visit to the neurotologist recently, I mentioned that he prescribed me 12.5 milligrams of meclizine three times per day. This initially seemed like quite a bit to me — but after doing some research, I guess it’s pretty much the lowest dosage possible.

Meclizine, which is often sold under the brand names Bonine and Antivert, is both an antihistamine and an antiemetic (it prevents vertigo). Mine came in 25 mg tablets that I can break in half and tastes like some gross artificial berry that doesn’t actually exist in nature (yes, I had to chew it just to see what it tasted like).

While I was hesitant about taking it at first, I took some yesterday, last night and today, and I find it actually helps substantially. I almost feel 100% while taking it (there’s still a slight twinge of something there once in a while, but it comes and goes).

I was quite worried about the sedating effects of meclizine, but I’ve only been slightly drowsy while on it. It also helped me to sleep much better than I usually do.

What I wonder, however, is if taking meclizine constantly is going to be an effective way to combat benign vertigo and dizziness. I also wonder if it will have an impact on any vestibular compensation that is still happening (although I wonder if after 3 years, the vestibular compensation is pretty much at an end).

If anyone has had an experience with meclizine (or any other drug that was used successfully or unsucessfully to treat their dizziness or vertigo), I’d love to hear what your experience was with it.

31 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Dizzy Dame

    I’ve tried meclizine/antivert and a scopolamine patch…neither being efffective in my case. The origin of my vertigo is not vestibular so perhaps its main function is to target these physical areas specifically?

    Do you have BPPV or know the specific origin of your disequilibrium?

  2. Wow, I just looked at the link to scopolamine and had no idea that it was so toxic — and that a dose of only 330 micrograms was used to treat vertigo.

    I would assume the origin of your vertigo is not in the ear at all then? I suppose it wouldn’t help with anything brain- or CNS-related. According to my neurotologist, meclizine is a vestibular suppressant, which is why it works for anyone who has any kind of vestibular dysfunction.

    While the exact cause of my vertigo/disequilibrium has never really been found, the neurotologist guesses that it’s a damaged vestibular nerve (caused by vestibular neuritis) that has never completely been compensated for. I sometimes do wonder about BPPV however, since my symptoms are remarkably similar to those. I sometimes wonder if the cyrstal-repositioning techniques would be worth a short just to see if they’re helpful.

  3. Dizzy Dame

    I’ve been tested in just about any manor you could imagine at this point, but nothing vestibular in origin. (possible “blog” in the works — I think the more individuals discussing this, the more can receive effective care)

    I was asking before I mentioned checking into the Epley or Semont maneuvers to try addressing your complaint. Unfortunately (for me) it works predominantly with BPPV cases only, but i’ve heard through six degrees that it can be quite effective.

    I’m excited for you that the meclizine has helped so much!

  4. It’s funny, I can actually feel the difference when the meclizine starts to wear off. I start to get the jumpy suddenly-off-balance feeling that I’m very used to getting at this point. I would guess that this lends itself to a vestibular origin to my disequilibrium.

    I thought about asking a physician to perform the Epley maneuver to see if it made any difference (I figure it can’t hurt, the worst thing that can happen is that it does nothing).

    I’d really suggest starting a blog about your condition. It’s a great way to hear about others who have similar issues, and it gives you an outlet when you’re feeling a bit down or stressed.

  5. You’d mentioned vestibular neuritis…I guess this is something that has to wear off?

    The maneuvers are definitely worth trying if there is even a remote chance of lessening/eliminating your symptoms. (especially if you have insurance) A physical therapist will generally test for nystagmus, along with the more expected evals. (walking tests, finger touching, etc.) beforehand.

    At one point in time I did not see any usefullness in my words falling upon deaf ears (a text editor is just as easy to vent) as there did not seem an audience to commiserate with. (sound kind of egotistical?)

    I really like the idea of being able to discuss, help, and just mingle with someone who understands without considering my kvetching a burden. *g* At any rate, your journal, along with the one or two others i’ve discovered over the past month or so have acted as a catalyst and i’ve created one.

    Would you mind if I added your site to my “blogroll?”

  6. I’m not sure that the effects caused by vestibular neuritis will ever wear off, unfortunately. I’m hoping that my brain will eventually completely compensate for the damage caused — that’s my long-term hope anyway.

    I agree about the maneuvers, and I think I will bring it up when I go to see my GP (I have a physical on Friday, so that might be a good time to bring it up). Doesn’t hurt to try I think.

    I’m really glad you decided to start a blog. It’s a great experience, and gets people talking. I’ve added your site to my blogroll, and of course you’re welcome to do the same.

    Having an audience that understands and can appreciate what you’re going through is not egotistical at all I think, it’s just human nature. We all want to be heard, and no one wants to be screaming into the void. So anyway, I’ll be looking forward to reading and happy blogging!

  7. thelight1974

    From my understanding with the correct VRT and time you will compensate. Meclezine merely masks the symptoms as alchohol does. It deadens the faulty signals, I am surprised your specialist prescribed them to be honest as while taking them you will not compensate.

  8. I’m hoping to hear back about the VRT sometime next week, and then we’ll see how it goes from there. As I said, I figure it can’t hurt to try it out. I’ll make sure to ask them when I start if I should stop taking the meclizine before I start VRT (I imagine that would be the best scenario).

    I think the neurotologist prescribed meclizine because he thinks my brain has compensated all it can at this point. He said that after 3 years, more compensation is highly unlikely. This was definitely not the answer I was hoping for, and I’m really hoping that the VRT will help me make some progress.

  9. Emily

    I started taking meclizine (25mg) once a day, ever since I moved to Santa Fe, NM. I have had problems with motion sickness my whole life. Normally, when I drive I’m ok, but I think this occasional hilly terrain, and possibly due to the high altitude, sometimes gets to me. I feel totally fine all day when I take meclizine, and have no adverse side effects. I’m wondering if I could take this forever? I would like too!

  10. the vertigo I get is usually positional, and with all the tension in my neck and shoulders, it also could be shutting off blood supply, usually these bouts are at bhome after a nap and I wake with vertigo try to nap again wake and the vertigo is gone. This time it happened in public while turning my heat side to side looking for a partucular item. It came on fast my fiance was in the car, thank God, I prayed all the way there, got home could not wask the room was spinning so past I vomited 5-6 times in 1/2 hour called after hours doc, he suggested I have someone go get me (Bonine-meclizine) took 25mg woke up 2 hours later, not gone but much better, when I woke next morning it is like nothing has happened, when I went to see the i told him i was told to take 25 mg a day i split- half in am half in pm. I loved it the vertigo was gone and because it is antihistimine based didn’t have to take allergy meds. i was to take a 5 day course as mine comes on fast and serious and then gone, I wish i could talk all the time.

  11. mooseman

    has anybody been diagnosed with dyslexia-dyspraxia and be treated with meclizine?

    well i am a dyslexic-dyspraxic with probable vestibular lesion

    i want to know 1) what are the side effects of long term use of meclizine 2) does the effect wear off with time 3) do we get tolerant to it?

    the thing is IF ARE SUPPRESSING THE VESTIBULAR SYSTEM AND NUMBING IT WE ARE ACTUALLY CAUSING MORE DAMAGE

    WE SHOULD ACTUALLY EXPOSE TO MORE STIMULI AND OVER EXPOSE SO IT IS ACTUALLY ACCOMODATED TO ANY SITUATION………

  12. mooseman

    well the connection with dyslexia-dyspraxia with vestibular defect was made by Dr Harold Levinson (NY) a neurologist
    if any body wants to check it up

    thanks

  13. Laurie

    I use Meclizine occasionally to try to combat the vertigo, had some really bad episodes last fall that some were lasting up to three days or more, and really intense and debilitating, then I was prescribed Maxalt which helps me, takes about half an hour to kick in but I am able to carry on with my day and the vertigo episodes have decreased substantially. Hope this helps.

  14. Jody

    I have taken meclizine for about 30 years for BPPV. I have taken up to 50mg per day but for the past 10 years or so I take only 12.5 per day. My episodes of dizziness have decreased to only a couple of times per year where I can’t function for a day. I get the occasional rush of dizziness when bending over or turning over once in awhile but can recover quickly. I have been expericing some blurred vision over the past couple of years and didn’t read until now that it is a side effect. Don’t know if it is that or just older age? The dizziness seems to run in my family, which the doctors said wasn’t possible, but I think is something with our inner ear makeup. I’m afraid to stop taking meclizine for fear that I will get the depilitating episodes that I had 20-30 years ago where I was out of commission for up to 3 days.

  15. Bonnie

    My first bout of vertigo I had was about 8 years ago, it had me in bed for 3 weeks…It was a horrible experience I was given meclizine and it didnt do a thing for me. My next bout came about three years later, which lasted a few days in bed. I went to an ENT dr a neurologist, who ran every test under the sun, thank g-d it wasn’t anything in my brain. I did some research and found a physical therapist who specialized in vertigo, during my 3rd bout and this PT really saved my sanity, he did all sorts of manuvering with my head, puttinmg me into vertigo states, and taught me how to control them and not let them control me. I learned how to focus and do breathing technics that kept them from getting out of control, I’m sure that most people who have vertigo, get very anxious which makes the vertigo worse. Now when I get an attack I can at least keep them in control. I tell meself you are not going to control me I am going to control you!!!!!!!!
    Another thing that I was told to do, was before getting out of bed to flex my feet back and forth to get the blood flowing faster, there isn’t a day that I don’t do that now :) Stay strong everybody we will all beat this :) people that have never experience this can never understand what it’s like!!!!!

  16. CHARLOTTE

    I was just diagnosed yeterday w/ positional vertigo. It happened as I was rolling over in bed to the left side and the room started spinning. I thought it was a fluke so I tried it again and it did the same thing. I have to drive alot so I went to dr. to have it checked. She said I have mild form of BPPV. She prescribed 1/2 pills of Meclizine which I took and only feel tired from it. I slept great last night. I do not have episodes while I am sitting, walking, standing, or even exercising. It is only lying down. Do you think it will stay that way? The dr. didn’t say I was not ok to drive, so I took my kids to school today with my husband and I drove ok. Do you think I can drive long distances again? My fear is that the positional vertigo gets worse. Nice to have someone to chat with. My husband does not understand and thinks one can only be sick unless they are bleeding! I don’t want this problem to come between me and my job, and I want to lead a normal life.

  17. C.S.

    Hi VertigoGuy! I was happy to find your blog. Yesterday when I awoke, the room was spinning like I was on a merry-go-round out of control. It was horrible. I could barely walk, then I got sick and was sweating bullets.

    I had to have a doctor come to my home. I was recovering from a head cold/flu, and he diagnosed that this had happened because my stuffy sinuses migrated into my ear canal. Makes sense…but on the other hand, this is the 2nd time this has happened in the past couple of months. Last time it abated as soon as I got up; this time, it wouldn’t stop! I also suspect I have Meniere’s, because of the ringing I often get in my ears.

    In any case, this much I know: I NEVER want to experience again what happened yesterday. It caused me to miss work and cancel my birthday party. But most of all, it was just downright awful. The doc left me with some Meclizine, and I am so thankful for this, because on Day 2, I still am experiencing some slight vertigo. My head cold is still in my sinuses, so I’m hoping this will have been solely an episodic case of vertigo. But in case it’s not, so thankful for Meclizine. I cannot allow myself to be disabled by such a thing. I need to hold down a job and live my life to the fullest–don’t we all!

    I wish everyone here relief–even a cure–from vertigo and will stay tuned to this page for more insights. I am currently researching natural alternatives, but it’s pretty scary some of the things they include in those homeopathic remedies. I’d appreciate anyone’s input on those. Thanks!

  18. nata

    I have all these systems going on2 yrs. Dizzy sickness sweating everything. Been seeing an ENT he does nothing for me but rd drugs that don’t help if u find answers please email me I want my life Bk. My poor kids. Rcordova1@live.com

  19. Anica

    I am glad I am not alone. This is terrible. I have been having vertigo spells since mid January. I started blood pressure meds…told vertigo would pass…and nothing…given three rounds of antibiotics…and nothing…saw an ENT and told me my vertigo recovery was fast…so to be patient. I mis my life. I haven’t been able to drive in two months or go anywhere without my husband driving me around. I feel bad for my kids. We are always home :( I am going to start taking meclizine today. I am hoping this does the trick.

  20. sasha

    Wow its really nice to find others dealing with the Vertigo from hell issue.
    I was diagnosed with Meneires disease about a year ago although I dont know if I really agree with the diagnosis. My vertigo seems to get worse seasonally and if I am around dust. I take Meclizine and for me it has been a lifesaver although I have to take the no drowsy (dramamine) during the day . I can take up to 75 mgs a day. I have had vertigo the last two weeks with sudden onset and then I am ok for a couple of days I always end yo hugging the toilet , I seem to always get sick. It seems better in the winter. really glad to know I am not the only one dealing with this , its difficult to explain to anyone who has not experienced it. and I would not wish it on my worst enemy. Godspeed healing for all of us.

  21. shelly3257

    I’ve had vertigo attacks for 8 years. I was diagnosed with BPPV, then Meniere’s Disease and it took over 5 years to get the correct diagnosis which is Basilar Migraines/Migraine Associated Vertigo. You can have attacks of vertigo without any headache and it can be migraine. If you do have ear symptoms such as fullness, pressure, ringing with your vertigo, see a “neurotologist”. They can test you to see if you have Meneire’s Disease.
    With migraine, you can get attacks or have the off balance vertigo all the time (me). I was on Meclizine for 7 years as needed and sometimes had to take it for over a month every day and then it stopped working. I had to switch over to Valium (not recommended because it’s addictive but I have no choice). Ativan and other benzo type drugs can be used in severe cases but it’s best to find the root of your problem and try to do all you can that way (for migraine, it’s trigger avoidance. Diet and hormones and weather and allergies affect it so sometimes you can’t always control the triggers).
    I wish all of you the best of luck in finding out your cause for sure, but I wanted to share what I have learned. You can go to http://www.menieres.org or http://www.mvertigo.org to ask questions and the best specialist that is most knowledgable about inner ear and brain causes of vertigo both is a neuroTologist (with a T).

  22. shelly3257

    I forgot to add that taking Meclizine every day long term for me, it lost it’s effectiveness and I had to take more and it ended up not working at all over time. I told the ER and my neurologist and they said you can build up a tolerance to it.

  23. Mary

    I am reading all ur posts. I got labs in 2006 and have been dizzy ever since. I cld not drive until last year in about Sept. I have been driving ever since. But, yest I got my first relapse of symptoms ie the room moving and when I went to get into my car yest the vertigo that hit me was amazing. So, no driving just now. I have to deal with panic disorder since 2006. I was a very confident person before.. nothing bothered me. Now Im a mess lol. Whenever I feel this coming on my body goes into melt down .. I cry easily, get panicked and just want to sit in my house and hide. Anyway, yesterday when it happened, I came back into the house and did my breathing exercises and vrt exercises. Today have done same, still dont feel right. But will keep doing them. I wonder if this is just a “blip” and I will feel ok again. Feel really sick just now kinda 24/7 :-( any help or comments appreciated guys!!

  24. Patty Dindial

    Hi, I have been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease since 2008. I have had surgery which revealed a leak in my endolymphatic sack. I also had a decompression done during that surgery. I felt much better after the survery only to find out that during the surgery the crystals got knocked off cause me to now have BPPV. I have been taking meclezine for the pass almost 5 years and cannot live without it. It has been my safety net. I had two attacks since the surgery. The one when I was off the meclezine was horrific, even more intense than it was before the surgery that I had to be hospitalized. The other attack has not been so bad since I was on the meclezine. I don’t know what I would do without meclezine. I have had the manuver several times but they keep popping out again. Iam concerned about taking meclezine sinceI was told by my doctor that after awhile meclezine actually causes vertigo.

  25. try these things

    I have been dealing with vertigo for 2 months with chronic dizziness everyday, I’ve heard its everything from Meniere’s disease, to canal dishesence (which was proven wrong) to now vestibular migrains. Whatever they want to call it I don’t care, I tried the drugs but to me they only mask the problem not adress the root cause. 2 weeks ago I started doing some research and came across this website http://WWW.ENTKENT.COM they have different excersises that I follow daily plus do some of my own, for example with eyes closed stand on one leg for 10 sec 3x each, stand on a yoga block with eyes closed then try to lift a leg for 10 sec each. While on yoga block eyes closed tilt head back and then lift hands above head. In addition to the balance exercises I have been running a mile on the treadmill. the first time it was tough but got easier each time. I start with a walk with eyes close and one finger of each hand gentily touch the sides to not lose balance. Then I run, after a mile I grab on to the treadmill and run for a while with eyes closed. Lastly I have been seeing a Eastern medical doctor who thinks my dizziness and vertigo is due to too much insulin in the brain and organs from high carb diet and sugars. So for the last 2 weeks I have been on a no sugar no carb diet with one day of fasting with only water to flush out the over load of insulin. Since I started all this I have felt better than I have in a while, my dizziness is just about gone with only a very faint spells. I have energy again and my vertigo hasn’t occured as often and the times it has it doesn’t last as long 20mins and after its over I can get back to my day, sometimes feeling better than I did before the episode. I hope these things are helpful to you has they have been for me. Fight for to get your life back we can and will beat this!

  26. IwillgetbackontracksaystheLord

    I tried the Epley Chair in 2010 for my BBPV and it made my condition much worse. I never had visual auras or light sensitivity until I tried the epley chair. I even tried to call Dr Epley who I learned was retired but I did speak with his daughter about my experience. No explanation came from our conversation. I only get vertigo when I lay down or turn over in bed. I understand BPPV totally, but I don’t understand the everyday off balance, motion sickness, nausea, unsteadiness that I live with every second of my life for over 20 years. I was prescribe Meclazine from the beginning but it made me do drowsy that I never took it again but it seems to be still the drug of choice after all these years. I wonder would it help if I started taking it or non drowsy version Dramamine every day? Has the Epley chair made anyone else worse?

  27. hello everyone is was prescribed meclizine for sever ringing in my ear and vertigo ive been sufering from this for about 6 years and never took the medicaition i finally just bought the medicine over the counter and took half of the pill like suggested, i hope this helps i dont know about anyone else but the ringing in my ear driving me crazy it comes for long periods of time and disappears by its self the ringing in my ear has lasted up to 8 months non stop and all of sudden on its own it disappears, i think if i didnt have the ringing i wouldnt have the vertigo im just sick of the bee hive in my ear

  28. Marcia

    Elizabeth –
    Have you tried the following home remedy technique for ringing in your ears? http://health.learninginfo.org/tinnitus.htm

    It worked amazingly for me – I hope it can work for you! (I think it works because of the accupressure points – but I’m not sure.)

  29. Lacon

    I have been dealing with lightheadness an dizzynees for almost a month now i was prescribed Antivert an it does nothing for me these spells keep comeing on an are about ev ery 5 min i cant even funtion an its so deppressing im only 27 an have tried everything. iv been everywere to try an get help but nothing iv been to a nuro doc an cardio an everything ive never had something like this last so long i still try an drive with these spells an it makes my life so hard i cant stand the dizzyness anymore or much longer uhgggg

  30. Tina

    I am so happy I found this! I have been experiencing vertigo on and off for about a year. My Dr. sent me to a neurologist and did a million tests on me. Still not sure what is causing it. They prescribed me Antivert and it works very well. I have no dizzy spells while I am taking it. I do not, however, want to take it all the time. I hate taking medicine for anything and it makes me very lethargic. I am just happy to know there are other people who feel my pain. People just don’t understand how vertigo can affect your life in negative ways.

  31. SHELLY3257

    Sometimes if you take Meclizine long term, the lethargy side effects wear off over time. I find when I take it multiple times a day, after about a week or two, I almost can’t tell I even took it; most of the tiredness goes away as my body gets used to the Meclizine.


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