May 14, 2009

Stopping Nausea and Vomiting for Chemo Patients

Adding a third drug to a popular chemotherapy regimen can help reduce the nausea and vomiting that many patients experience.

Researchers from the University of Vermont in Burlington, VT, studied 810 patients from 77 centers in 22 countries. The participants took the chemo regimen of dexamthesone and ondansetron. This is a treatment used for patients with many types of solid tumors including colorectal and pancreatic cancers. Some of the patients received a third drug -- casopitant mesylate (CM) -- to reduce the unwanted side effects of the therapy.

Results of the study show 86 percent of patients taking a single oral dose of CM -- and 80 percent of those taking the intravenous plus oral dose of CM -- achieved a complete response, meaning they had no vomiting, retching or use of rescue medications. On the other hand, only 66 percent of those in the placebo group had the same outcome.

The authors suggest further study is needed to determine if adding the drug could also help patients who experience nausea and vomiting from other chemotherapy combinations or radiotherapy.


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