Restricted sedation and absence of cognitive impairments after administration of intranasal scopolamine
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Journal of psychopharmacology. - Oxford
, p. 1231-1235
University of Antwerp
Introduction: Space motion sickness in astronauts during spaceflight causes significant discomfort, which might impede their functionality. Pharmacological treatment has been mainly restricted to promethazine. Transdermal and oral scopolamine have also been used in space; however, their use was reduced due to unpredictable effectiveness and side effects. Recently, intranasal scopolamine administration has gained much interest, since this route ensures fast and reliable absorption with a decreased incidence of undesirable side effects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of intranasal scopolamine on cognitive performance and to determine its side effects. Methods: This double-blind, placebo controlled, repeated measures study evaluated vigilant attention, short-term memory, implicit memory and working memory. Side effects were reported on a 22-item questionnaire and sleepiness was assessed by the Karolinska, Stanford and Epworth Sleepiness Scales. Results: Scopolamine had no effect on cognitive function. Only the Karolinska score was significantly increased for scopolamine compared to placebo. Participants reported a dry mouth and dizziness after receiving scopolamine. Discussion: Results show that intranasal scopolamine did not impair cognitive performance. Intranasal scopolamine might be a good alternative to promethazine for the alleviation of space motion sickness, since the agent has minimal sedative effects and does not hamper cognitive performance.