Transderm Scop (Scopolamine) - Transdermal

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What Is Transderm Scop?

Transderm Scop (scopolamine) is a prescription transdermal patch placed on the skin to prevent nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness or anesthetic medication. Transdermal patches deliver the medication through the skin.

This medication is called an anticholinergic, meaning it works by blocking the activity of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that has many actions in the central nervous system (CNS, brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system (nerves of the organs and the skeletal muscles). These actions cause the Transderm Scop patch to have a range of effects, such as dilating (expanding) the pupils, inhibiting saliva and sweat, decreasing gastrointestinal (GI) activity, and increasing heart rate.

Drug Facts

  • Generic Name: Scopolamine
  • Brand Name(s): Transderm Scop
  • Administration Route(s): Transdermal
  • Drug Availability: Prescription
  • Therapeutic Classification: Antivertigo
  • Available Generically: Yes
  • Controlled Substance: N/A
  • Active Ingredient: Scopolamine
  • Dosage Form(s): Patch, extended release

What Is Transderm Scop Used For?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Transderm Scop for use in adults as a preventative medication before anticipated nausea and vomiting due to a particular reason.

Transderm Scop is indicated to prevent:

  • Nausea and vomiting associated with motion sickness 
  • Postoperative nausea and vomiting that can occur with recovery from anesthesia, opiates, and surgery

How to Use Transderm Scop

Use the Transderm Scop patch as directed by your healthcare provider.

For preventing symptoms of motion sickness, place the patch at least four hours before you want it to work.

For preventing symptoms after surgery and anesthesia, place the patch the night before your surgery and remove it 24 hours after your procedure.

The patch should be placed on the hairless skin behind your ear. Make sure the area is dry before applying it. Wash your hands immediately after you touch the patch to avoid getting medication in your eyes, mouth, or anywhere else.

Wear one patch at a time, and do not cut it. If the patch moves out of place, remove it and replace it on the same spot on your skin. If you need to use this medication for longer than three days, remove the used patch and replace it with a new one.

If you need a dose of less than a single patch, you can remove only a portion of the patch backing and apply it with only a portion of the patch making contact with the skin. You must still wear this portion of the patch for three days at a time. For example, if you need a half dose of the patch, remove only a half of the patch backing and expose only half of the patch adhesive to the skin. After applying, cover the patch with an adhesive dressing to ensure stability.

Discard the used patch carefully, folding in the medicated side and ensuring that children or pets can’t get access to it.

Storage

Store this medication out of reach from pets or children. Store it in an upright position, and don’t let the pouches get bent or rolled. 

Keep Transderm Scop patches at room temperature, between 68 F and 77 F.

Off-Label Uses

Healthcare providers sometimes prescribe Transderm Scop off-label for other medical uses not specified by the FDA.

Because of its ability to inhibit the action of acetylcholine, Transderm Scop has off-label uses for treating or preventing:

Although it is approved for adults, children are sometimes prescribed Transderm Scop off-label. If you are prescribed this medication for an off-label indication, use it as directed by your provider and make sure you are aware of the potential side effects.

Transderm Scop is approved for adults, but it is prescribed off-label for adults and children.

How Long Does Transderm Scop Take to Work?

Transderm Scop begins to work within a few hours. Take it hours before anticipated nausea and vomiting are expected to begin.

What Are the Side Effects of Transderm Scop?

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. A medical professional can advise you on side effects. If you experience other effects, contact your pharmacist or a medical professional. You may report side effects to the FDA at www.fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-FDA-1088.

The side effects of Transderm Scop are caused by its anticholinergic activity. Most side effects are mild and temporary, but severe side effects can be life-threatening and may require urgent treatment.

Common Side Effects

The common side effects of Transderm Scop can differ depending on the reason for use.

The most common side effects when used for treating motion sickness include: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Pupil dilation (widening) or unequal pupils

The most common side effects when used for preventing post-anesthesia symptoms include: 

  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Impaired vision
  • Confusion
  • Dilated or unequal pupils
  • Sore throat

If you get the medication in your eyes, eye-related side effects (vision changes, pupil dilation, unequal pupils) are more likely.

These side effects should wear off within a few hours. In the meantime, make sure to avoid driving or doing anything that could cause an injury while you are waiting for the side effects to resolve.

Severe Side Effects

Due to the gradual transdermal medication delivery, serious side effects are not common. However, severe reactions can occur.

 Severe side effects of the Transderm Scop include:

Drug withdrawal symptoms can occur up to 24 hours after you stop using the patch.

Symptoms of withdrawal can include:

  • Confusion 
  • Dizziness
  • Bradycardia (low heart rate)
  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Abdominal cramps 
  • Sweating

Report Side Effects

Transderm Scop may cause other side effects. Call your healthcare provider if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your provider may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting Program or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

Dosage: How Much Transderm Scop Should I Use?

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The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

For transdermal dosage form (patch):

For prevention of nausea and vomiting after anesthesia, narcotic pain medicine, and surgery:

  • Adults—Apply one patch behind the ear the evening before surgery. Leave it in place for 24 hours.
  • Children—Use is not recommended. 

For prevention of nausea and vomiting from motion sickness:

  • Adults—Apply one patch behind the ear at least 4 hours before the effect is needed, for up to 3 days.
  • Children—Use is not recommended.

Modifications

People who are 65 years of age and older or have impaired kidney or liver function should use caution with Transderm Scop, as there is an increased likelihood of CNS effects.

Missed Dose

Make sure you remember to wear or change your patch. If you forget, apply a patch as soon as you remember. If it’s almost time for your next patch, wait until then to put the new one on. Do not apply extra patches.

Overdose: What Happens If I Take Too Much Transderm Scop?

Placing more than one patch on the body or ingesting Transderm Scop patches can cause anticholinergic toxicity. You are also at risk of toxicity if you have underlying health problems, are 65 years of age or older, or have low body weight.

Effects of an overdose can include:

  • Dry skin and/or dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Urinary retention (inability to urinate)
  • GI blockage
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Vision changes
  • Coma

These effects can be dangerous and require close observation with monitoring of vital signs. Symptomatic medical treatment is sometimes necessary. Your healthcare provider may need to provide you with respiratory support as the medication is wearing off. 

The effects of Transderm Scop toxicity can be similar to some of the symptoms of drug withdrawal.

What Happens If I Overdose on Transderm Scop?

If you think you or someone else may have overdosed from Transderm Scop, call a healthcare provider or the Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222).

If someone collapses or isn't breathing after using Transderm Scop, call 911 immediately.

Precautions

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If you use this medicine for several days, it is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that this medicine is working properly and to decide if you should continue to use it. 

This medicine may increase the pressure in the eye, which may lead to acute angle-closure glaucoma. Check with your doctor right away if you have eye pain or discomfort, blurred vision, or halos around lights. 

This medicine can temporarily increase the size of your pupil and cause blurry vision if it comes in contact with your eyes. It may also cause problems with urination. If any of these reactions occur, call your doctor right away. 

This medicine may cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, or trouble seeing clearly. Do not drive or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how this medicine affects you. If you plan to participate in underwater sports, you may feel lost or confused (disoriented). Talk with your doctor if you have concerns. 

If you develop any unusual or strange thoughts and behavior while using scopolamine transdermal patch, be sure to discuss it with your doctor. Some changes that have occurred in people receiving this medicine are like those seen in people who drink too much alcohol. Other changes may be confusion, delusions, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there), and unusual excitement, nervousness, or irritability. 

This medicine may cause seizures in pregnant women with severe preeclampsia (pregnancy with high blood pressure and high protein levels in the urine or organ problems). Talk to your doctor if you have concerns. 

Tell the doctor in charge that you are using this medicine before having a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. The patch contains aluminum, which can cause skin burns at the application site during this procedure. Ask your doctor if the patch should be removed before having an MRI scan. You might need to put on a new patch after the procedure. 

Scopolamine transdermal will add to the effects of alcohol and other central nervous system (CNS) depressants (medicines that slow down the nervous system). Some examples of CNS depressants are antihistamines or medicine for allergies or colds, sedatives, tranquilizers, or sleeping medicine, prescription pain medicine or narcotics, barbiturates or medicine for seizures, muscle relaxants, or anesthetics, including some dental anesthetics. Check with your doctor before taking any of the above while you are using this medicine. 

Scopolamine transdermal may cause dry mouth. For temporary relief, use sugarless candy or gum, melt bits of ice in your mouth, or use a saliva substitute. However, if your mouth continues to feel dry for more than 2 weeks, check with your medical doctor or dentist. Continuing dryness of the mouth may increase the chance of dental disease, including tooth decay, gum disease, and fungus infections. 

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

What Are Reasons I Shouldn’t Take Transderm Scop?

People with angle closure glaucoma, a serious type of glaucoma that occurs suddenly, should not use Transderm Scop. Angle closure glaucoma is characterized by fluid buildup behind the iris of the eye.

Additionally, people with a hypersensitivity to scopolamine or to any other ingredient of the medication should not use Transderm Scop.

What Other Medications Interact With Transderm Scop?

Several medications can interact with Transderm Scop, potentially resulting in serious adverse effects.

Transderm Scop can interact with:

  • Other anticholinergic medications: The combination can increase the risk of side effects or toxicity. 
  • Medications that affect the CNS: The combination can cause drowsiness or confusion. 
  • Oral medications: Transderm Scop can affect the absorption of these medications in the stomach. 

You may need close observation if you are taking Transderm Scop with any of these other medications.

What Medications Are Similar?

There are many medications that have anticholinergic effects. Some of these also have other effects in addition to their anticholinergic effects.

Some anticholinergics include: 

  • Diphenhydramine
  • Meclizine 
  • Atropine
  • Benztropine

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is Transderm Scop used for?

    This medication is prescribed for preventing nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness or anesthesia recovery after surgery.

  • How does Transderm Scop work?

    This medication interferes with the action of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that has many effects throughout the body.

  • What drugs should not be taken with Transderm Scop?

    There are no medications that can’t be taken with Transderm Scop. However, taking it with other anticholinergics or medications that interact with the central nervous system can increase the risk of side effects. Transderm Scop can also change the effect of oral medications that are absorbed in the stomach.

  • What are the side effects of Transderm Scop?

    This medication commonly causes a dry mouth, dizziness, fatigue, agitation, and a sore throat. Rare, but more serious complications can include seizures, blood pressure, GI or urinary blockage, psychiatric symptoms, and withdrawal.

  • How do I safely stop using Transderm Scop?

    Remove the patch after three days or sooner. Withdrawal effects are rare, but it’s important to be familiar with the possible symptoms of withdrawal so you can get medical attention if you need it. Ask your healthcare provider how to safely stop using this medication.

How to Stay Healthy While Taking Transderm Scop

Safe use of Transderm Scop is important.

To stay healthy while using this medication:

  • Use only as directed.
  • Do not allow the medication to get in your eyes or mouth.
  • Do not drive or use machinery if you are experiencing tiredness.
  • Become familiar with the side effects and effects of withdrawal so you can seek medical attention if you need to.
  • Try to prevent the effects of motion sickness by staying hydrated and getting enough rest.

Medical Disclaimer

Verywell Health's drug information is meant for education purposes only and not intended as a replacement for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a healthcare professional. Consult your doctor before taking any new medication(s). IBM Watson Micromedex provides some of the drug content, as indicated on the page.

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7 Sources
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