Comprehensive information about diving and undersea medicine for the non-medical diver, the non-diving physician and the specialist.
*Material provided is intended for information only and should be used only in conjunction with the advice of a physician.*
Guidelines useful in considering the relationships between drugs and diving:
Consider the condition/illness/disease for which the medication is being given. Go to our 'Fitness to Dive' web page and check to see if your condition could be dangerous underwater.
Are there any effects of the drug that alter consciousness or cause alteration in decision making ability.
Check in the linked 'Databases' below for any side effects of the drug that could be dangerous underwater.
Consider complex relationships between drugs, the individual, other medications, diet and the conditions for which the drugs are taken.
Write us if you still have a problem finding or deciding about a specific drug, condition or drug combination after using the process above.
|Diving and Drugs|
|Class of Drugs||Condition Adverse to Diving||Drug Effects Adverse to Diving||Other Factors Related to Diving|
|Anticoagulants||Various cardiovascular conditions||Hematomas from minor trauma, hemorrhage from barotrauma||Tendency to bleed from barotrauma (ears, sinuses, lungs - possibly worsens spinal DCS)|
|Analgesics||None||GI bleeding||Aspirin possibly beneficial by blocking effects of bubbles|
|Narcotics, Marijuana & Alcohol||Substance Abuse||Decreased sensorium & problem solving||Possible additive effect of nitrogen|
|Tranquillizers||State anxiety, panic||Decreased sensorium & problem solving||Possible additive effect of nitrogen|
|Anti-depressants||Depression, mania, risk of suicide||Decreased sensorium & problem solving||Risk of seizures|
|Decongestants & Antihistamines||Upper respiratory infection||Sleepiness, nasal rebound congestion||Risk of ear and pulmonary barotrauma|
|Antacids and H2 blockers||Gastroesophageal reflux of ascent||None||Drugs beneficial due to effect on GERD|
|Motion sickness drugs
|Seasickness, dehydration||Sedation, loss of judgment, and aggravation of
|Scopolamine and Meclizine are additive (both cholinergic)|
|Calcium blockers||Hypertension||Postural hypotension||Fainting can occur.|
|Inability to respond to needs of stress||Constriction of blood vessels to hands, aggravate asthma|
|ACE inhibitors||Hypertension, heart disease||None||Produces cough & airway swelling|
|Diuretics||Water and salt retention||Possible dehydration||Loss of potassium|
|Steroids||Asthma, dermatitis,||None||Possible increase in O2 toxicity (animals)|
|Antiarrhythmics||Abnormal heart rhythym||None, with properly adjusted dosages||Solar sensitivity with amiodarone|
|Antibiotics||Ear, sinus, lung infections||None||Solar sensitivity with tetracycline|
|Anti-malarials||Prevention of malaria more important than side effects of the drugs.||Lariam (Mefloquine) - psychological & neurological
Few problems with chloroquine, Malarone (Proguanil+Atavaquone), Doxycycline
|Side effects of Lariam similar to symptoms of DCS.|