Since 1997
Medication, Drugs & Diving
by Dr Frans J Cronje on December 31st, 2014

One of the features that distinguish man from animals is our desire to take medication!

Beyond the age of 18, nearly all humans take some or other form of medication, nutritional supplement or mood enhancer. If you dare to disagree with me, consider your next hot beverage…! 

So now the question arises about how all this affects divers? What do we know about medication and diving? Unfortunately very little!

It is easy to speculate on ways in which medication may affect us in diving, but most of these suppositions are not founded on fact; they remain based on common sense and best guesses, leaving recommendations on drugs and diving more one of argument than evidence. There is, for instance, no comprehensive or foolproof list on drugs and diving.

So, the presentation that follows addresses the issue of medication, drugs and diving on two levels: (1) it offers general guidelines that can be applied to any medication or condition, and (2) it provides specific information about common medication used in diving and in divers.

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John Walley - July 31st, 2015 at 9:31 AM
This was very helpful to me, a doctor and diver, but new to providing care at a dive site e.g. on the use of pseudo ephedrine.

Dr Frans Cronje - May 12th, 2016 at 7:49 PM
Thanks John. Yes, it is important to differentiate the treatment of Middle Ear Barotrauma (MEBT) - for which the use of Pseudoepherine is valuable - from the prevention of MEBT - where the use of pseudoephedrine should be limited to very selected situations: (1) Only ever to improve equalization, never to make it possible to equalize when the ears refuse to clear otherwise; (2) on shallow dives (
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