Cruising is hell when you're seasick. Luckily, there are several remedies -- from ginger candy and green apples to medicinal patches and a fixed gaze on the horizon -- that can make you feel better in no time. One of the most effective, though, is seasickness pills, but with so many to choose from, which is the best? Below, we compare two popular brands, Dramamine versus Bonine. (Note: Dramamine offers several pills and tablets to fight seasickness. For the purposes of this article, we're referring to Dramamine's original formula.)
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Similarities Between Bonine and Dramamine
Both Bonine and Dramamine Original Formula treat motion sickness using antiemetics (in this case, antihistamine drugs that also alleviate nausea and vomiting). Both brands say their products should be taken prior to activity for best results, and both types of pills contain lactose.
Differences Between Dramamine and Bonine
Bonine has only one product; the active per-tablet ingredient is 25 mg of meclizine hydrochloride, which prevents seasickness symptoms with minimal drowsiness. Meanwhile, Dramamine offers several products, including one made from ginger and one designed for kids. Dramamine's original formula, to which we're comparing Bonine, contains 50 mg of dimenhydrinate per tablet, which can cause marked drowsiness.
The recommended dose for Dramamine Original Formula is one to two tablets every four to six hours for anyone older than 12. Bonine is to be taken one or two tablets at a time -- but only once a day -- for anyone older than 12. Dramamine offers dosing instructions for children as young as 2 years old, while Bonine doesn't offer dosing for anyone younger than 12.
Additionally, Bonine (which is chewable) contains artificial sweetener, while Dramamine Original Formula (which is swallowed, rather than chewed) does not. (Note: Dramamine does make a chewable pill, as well as a "less drowsy" pill that contains the same active ingredient as Bonine.)
In terms of pricing, Bonine is generally more expensive. We compared prices on the websites of several major retailers and found that the cost of a 12-pack of Bonine versus Dramamine pills was higher across the board, by anywhere from 80 cents to nearly $2.
Bonine vs. Dramamine: Bottom Line
Here's what it comes down to: Use Bonine if you want less drowsiness from a chewable pill that you only have to take once a day and don't mind paying an extra dollar or two for the convenience. Use Dramamine if you can't tolerate chewable pills or artificial sweeteners, but be prepared to take more than one dose per day (which means you'll go through more pills, thereby potentially negating any cost savings). If you're lactose intolerant or if you plan to consume alcohol, stick with a more natural remedy like an acupressure bracelet, green apples, ginger or peppermint. In our experience, the majority of people prefer Bonine; you can read the opinions of fellow cruisers and join the discussion on the Cruise Critic message boards.