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Promethazine and its use as a treatment for space motion sicknessUntil Mar. 1989, no effective treatment--either prophylactic or symptomatic--for space motion sickness (SMS) had been discovered. Since Mar. 1989, intramuscular (IM) promethazine (PMZ) has been used in the treatment of SMS with extremely favorably results reported by the crew. A retrospective study was undertaken to quantify the efficacy of IM PMZ since its institution and the incidence of its major anticipated side-effect drowsiness and sedation. The results from a standardized crew medical debriefing conducted immediately after landing and follow-up interviews with the crews were used in establishing the efficacy and incidence of side effects from treatment. Only crews from the first 44 Shuttle flights on their first mission were considered. For a total of 132 crewmembers, 96 exhibited symptoms of SMS; and, of these, 20 were treated with IM PMZ. Ninety percent of those receiving IM PMZ 25-50mg received nearly immediate (less than 2 hours) relief of symptoms and 75 percent required no further treatment through the first 2 days of spaceflight. Those not receiving this treatment did not have any near-term resolution of their symptoms, and 50 percent were still ill through the second day of flight. This represents a significant difference at the p = 0.46 level. In stark contrast to the 60 percent to 73 percent incidence of sedation or drowsiness reported in individuals treated with PMZ in terrestrial environment at the doses used here, less than 5 percent reported these symptoms during spaceflight. IM PMZ is an effective therapy for SMS and is associated with minimal incidence of sedation or drowsiness. This combination of efficacy that is absent of significant side effects represents a substantial improvement in the operational situation of crewmembers afflicted with SMS. Studies to understand the mechanisms underlying these observations will be undertaken in the future.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bagian, James P. (NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Beck, Bradley G. (NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
February 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: Sixth Annual Workshop on Space Operations Applications and Research (SOAR 1992), Volume 2
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle19940007055Analytic PrimarySixth Annual Workshop on Space Operations Applications and Research (SOAR 1992), volume 2