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 problems.
Few problems with chloroquine, Malarone (Proguanil+Atavaquone), Doxycycline
|Side effects of Lariam similar to symptoms of DCS.|