Roughly one-third of all people are vulnerable to motion sickness in general conditions while two-thirds of people are vulnerable when subjected to more extreme situations like bumpy roads, turbulence and roller coasters. A new chewing gum brings that number closer to zero, as this study was presented at this year’s annual meeting and expo for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists in Chicago before an audience of roughly 8,000 professionals from within the pharmaceutical community.
The gum, created by members of the Islamic Azad University School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, is still in the prototype stage as of the time of this writing. One of the biggest challenges right now actually has to do with the flavor: the active ingredient in the gum, dimenhydrinate, has a very bitter, unpleasant taste. Mohsen Sadatrezaei of RoshaDarou Co., lead researcher on the project, claims that they have made great strides in masking this flavor and creating a more palatable chewing experience.
The gum’s active ingredient is absorbed through the cheek for fast relief of motion sickness. The gum can be chewed before or during motion sickness to deal with the feelings of unease and discomfort associated with jerky, disorienting movement.
An interesting side effect of the study: the researchers have discovered new techniques for masking bitter and unpleasant flavors inside of chewing gum. If the motion sickness gum is a success on the open market, then we may well be seeing headache gum and cold medicine gum not long after. We may eventually see prescription medication in a gum form so that the elderly don’t have to swallow a handful of pills a day, or even an alternative to suppositories and shots, afforded by the quick absorption through the cheek.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this news is not so much that there’s an easy cure for motion sickness, but that there is a whole new way to deliver medicine. Children who hate syrups can now chew their medicine, people who have trouble swallowing pills need never swallow another pill as long as they live. By absorbing through the cheek and chewing the active ingredients out of the gum, the pill may eventually be a thing of the past for many types of medicine.
The next step is to put the gum onto pharmacy shelves where anyone about to take a road trip can grab a pack and enjoy a smooth ride. Whether or not it will be a success remains to be seen, but it’s hard to imagine a cure for road sickness flopping on the open market.