Buccastem helps ease nausea associated with migraines

Buccastem treats nausea and vomiting caused by migraines. The active ingredient in Buccastem is an antiemetic medicine called prochlorperazine. Buccastem effectively prevents the vomiting reflex from being triggered.

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Virginia Chachati

Reviewed by Virginia Chachati MPharm
(2013, University College London)
GPhC Registration number: 2087654

Information last reviewed 06/07/2021


What is Buccastem?

Buccastem is a tablet that dissolves in your mouth and helps treat nausea and vomiting caused by migraines.

How does Buccastem work?

Buccastem contains the antiemetic medicine prochlorperazine. It works by blocking the dopamine receptors in the vomiting centre of the brain. This stops the nerves from communicating feelings of nausea, preventing the vomiting reflex from being triggered.

What is a migraine?

A migraine is an intense headache with or without sensory disturbance. Migraines may cause additional symptoms like nausea, being unable to tolerate bright lights or loud noises, and having disturbed vision.

What are the symptoms of a migraine?

The symptoms of a migraine include: 

  • An intense pain usually on one side of the head 
  • A throbbing or pulsing pain 
  • High sensitivity to light and sound 
  • Visual disturbances 
  • Dizziness 
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Poor concentration 
  • Upset stomach 
  • Pins and needles 
  • Difficulty speaking 

 Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms and some people may experience a migraine without a headache. If you experience visual disturbances such as flashing lights or a zig zag pattern, this is known as a migraine with aura.

What is the difference between a headache and a migraine?

A migraine is more intense than a headache and results in additional symptoms alongside the pain of a headache. It's common to experience nausea, and a sensitivity to light or noise during a migraine. You may also experience visual disturbances such as seeing flashing lights or patterns of light. This is known as a migraine with aura.

What causes migraines?

The exact cause of migraines is unknown, but it is thought to be linked to changes in brain activity. It is also likely that your genes may make you more susceptible to having migraines. There are a number of triggers which are known to cause migraines. These include: 

  • Hormonal changes 
  • Emotional triggers such as excitement, shock or tension 
  • Depression or anxiety 
  • Stress
  • Feeling tired 
  • Lack of sleep
  • Working irregular shifts 
  • Bad posture
  • Jet lag 
  • Hypoglycaemia 
  • Missed meals 
  • Dehydration 
  • Alcohol 
  • Caffeine 
  • Cured meats and fish
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruit 
  • Exposure to screens or flickering lights 
  • Bright light 
  • Strong smells
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke 
  • Loud noises 
  • Climate changes 
  • A stuffy environment 
  • Certain medicines

Keeping a migraine diary can help you to determine what your triggers are, so you can avoid them.

Are migraine auras dangerous?

Migraine auras are not usually dangerous. While it can be unsettling to experience visual disturbances like flashing lights, blind spots, zig zag patterns or stars, these symptoms do not last long and will only have a temporary effect on your vision. You should see your doctor if you experience an aura, so they can prescribe an appropriate treatment.

Can a migraine lead to a stroke?

In 2016, a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) stated that individuals who suffer from migraine with aura are at double the risk of having a stroke. However,  there may be other factors that affect your risk of having a stroke. Discuss your migraine symptoms with your doctor to determine your individual risk.

Can stress cause migraines?

Stress is a common trigger for migraines. Finding ways to manage stress and making time for self care may help reduce the number of migraines you have. Speak to your doctor, or consider contacting a therapist for further advice.

What are the different types of migraine?

The different types of migraine include: 

  • Migraine without aura (no visual disturbance)
  • Migraine with aura (with visual disturbance)
  • Chronic migraine (more than 15 days per month)
  • Menstrual migraine (triggered by your period)
  • Hemiplegic migraine (a rare condition causing weakness on one side)
  • Abdominal migraine (common in children) 


Active ingredients

The active ingredient in Buccastem is prochlorperazine.

Inactive ingredients

The other ingredients in Buccastem are compressible sugar (sucrose), povidone K30, xanthan gum, locust bean gum, talc, magnesium stearate and riboflavin sodium phosphate.


How to take Buccastem?

Buccastem should not be swallowed or chewed. To use Buccastem, place the tablet underneath your upper lip alongside your gum. The tablet will soften and stick to the gum. It dissolves slowly, and the medicine will be absorbed through your gum into your bloodstream. Do not touch or move the tablet around, and do not eat while you have a Buccastem tablet in your mouth.

You should take 1 or 2 tablets twice a day, for a maximum of two days. Always take Buccastem as your doctor or pharmacist has prescribed. 

What should I do if I forget to take Buccastem?

If you forget to take Buccastem, use it as soon as you remember if you still feel nauseous. Do not take double the dose to make up for a missed one.

What should I do if I take too much Buccastem?

If you take too much Buccastem then seek medical attention straight away. Take the packet with you so that the doctor can see what you've taken.

Side Effects

Possible side effects of Buccastem include: 

  • Drowsiness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Dry mouth 
  • Insomnia 
  • Agitation 
  • Skin reactions 
  • Photosensitivity 
  • Low blood pressure 
  • High blood sugar 
  • Cholestasis 
  • Abnormal movements or tremors 
  • Impotence
  • Ejaculation problems 
  • Painful erections 
  • Gum irritation 

Rare side effects of Buccastem may include: 

  • Jaundice 
  • Blood problems 
  • Swollen breasts in men or women 
  • Breast secretion 
  • Lack of menstruation 
  • Restlessness 
  • Anxiety 

 Serious side effects that need immediate medical attention include: 

  • Allergic reaction (swelling around the face, rash and difficulty breathing)
  • High temperature, muscle stiffness, pale complexion and lack of alertness 
  • Convulsions 
  • Infection which may cause headaches, sweating, shivering, high temperature, sore throat, flushing or swollen glands 
  • Blood clots
  • Decreased sodium concentration in the blood


Do not use Buccastem if: 

  • You are allergic to any of the ingredients in the medicine 
  • You are pregnant or breastfeeding 
  • You have liver problems 
  • You have blood problems 
  • You have epilepsy 
  • You have Parkinson's disease 
  • You have glaucoma 
  • You have problems with your prostate gland 
  • You are under 18 years old

 Talk to your doctor before taking Buccastem if any of the following apply to you: 

  • If you are elderly 
  • If you have risk factors for blood clots or strokes 
  • If you have a family history of blood clots 
  • If you have myasthenia gravis 
  • If you have AIDS

 Buccastem can increase your sensitivity to sunlight. So try to use sun protection and avoid direct exposure to the sun while you are using Buccastem.

Drug interactions

Certain medicines may interact with Buccastem. If you are taking any of the following medicines, make sure you tell your doctor: 

  • Sedatives
  • High blood pressure medicines
  • Anticholinergic medicines
  • Anticonvulsants 
  • Lithium 
  • Desferrioxamine 
  • Anticoagulants 
  • Levodopa 

Buccastem and pregnancy

Buccastem should not be used during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor for advice on an alternative.

Buccastem and alcohol

You should not drink alcohol while taking Buccastem.

Buccastem and driving

Buccastem can cause drowsiness so you should not drive or operate machinery after taking it.

Treatment Options

Alternatives to Buccastem

Buccastem is a medicine that helps treat nausea and vomiting. You can use Buccastem alongside painkillers or a different type of migraine treatment. There are other types of antiemetics which work in a similar way to Buccastem. These include: 

  • Domperidone 
  • Metoclopramide 
  • Stemetil

 Like Buccastem, Stemetil also contains prochlorperazine. Stemetil is essentially the same medicine as Buccastem, except it comes in tablet, syrup and injection form instead of dissolving in the mouth.

How to cope with migraines?

The best thing to do when you experience a migraine is to lie down in a dark room until it passes. Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, are helpful for pain relief. For stronger migraine relief, you could try using sumatriptan (Migraitan) or rizatriptan (Maxalt) which are available online from Dr Felix. 

Keeping a migraine diary to record your symptoms can help you get an accurate diagnosis from your doctor and identify possible triggers and environmental factors that may be causing your migraines. Record as many details as you can, so you can avoid triggers and manage your migraines better.

How to prevent migraines?

The best way to prevent a migraine is to identify what is triggering them, and avoid those triggers. Keep a diary to record where and when your migraines take place, the environmental factors that are present, and anything you eat or drink. Try to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, eat a healthy balanced diet and get enough exercise to stay well.

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