Progress in medicine generally emerges from long investigations in a laboratory, but occasionally a happy accident provides the means to hurdle a barrier. So it has been with motion sickness. Six years ago a patient in a Baltimore clinic received Dramamine, an antihistamine, for an allergy. When she returned to the clinic the next day she told doctors that for the first time she had made the half-hour trolley car ride without suffering a queasy stomach. The doctors continued the Dramamine and were even more astonished when—along with her allergy—the patient's car sickness vanished entirely.
The fight against motion sickness revived and a joint Air Force-Navy-Army project was launched under Dr. Herman Chinn of the USAF School of Aviation Medicine, Randolph Field, Tex. Dr. Chinn and his associates fed dozens of different drugs to armed forces personnel and then sent them whirling about in mechanical swings, bouncing along in special "burp run" aircraft missions and sailing across the Atlantic in troop transports.
From these tests came a handful of drugs which significantly curtail motion sickness and yet have no disastrous side effects such as have been experienced with some preparations. One of the best preventatives is Bonamine. One dose provides protection for 24 hours. Other preparations which are also effective are Lergigan, Parsidol, Marezine, Multergan, Benadryl and hyoscine. The latter, when sprayed in the nostrils, will calm a troubled stomach even after motion sickness has already set in. These drugs, Dr. Chinn proved, protect 50-80% of those who normally become ill. Only consolation for the other 20%: nobody ever has actually died from motion sickness—though many, at the time, wish they would.