October 26, 2005

Drug reduces post-op vomiting

By Karla Gale

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - For people undergoing surgery,
recovery could be easier with a new anti-nausea drug.

Aprepitant, made by Merck Research Laboratories, reduces
the rate of vomiting during the first 48 hours after open
abdominal surgery, according to a trial reported this week at
the meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in

The drug is already approved by the US Food and Drug
Administration for treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and
vomiting, and this study is the first to evaluate aprepitant's
use for post-operative vomiting, Dr. Tong Joo Gan told Reuters

Gan, from Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North
Carolina, and colleagues enrolled nearly 500 patients
undergoing general anesthesia during open abdominal surgery
requiring overnight hospitalization.

The patients were randomly assigned to take a 125-milligram
or a 40-milligram aprepitant pill 1 hour prior to surgery, or
were given an IV dose of another anti-nausea drug ondansetron
at the beginning of surgery.

Ninety-five percent of patients in the 125-milligram
aprepitant group and 90 percent in the 40-milligram group had
no vomiting over 24 hours, compared with 74 percent in the
ondansetron group. Corresponding rates of no vomiting by 48
hours were 93 percent, 85 percent and 67 percent.

"For this population that we studied, the typical rate of
nausea and vomiting is 60 percent to 70 percent," Gan pointed
out. "This is the first time in 10 years that a new class of
drug is coming to market and it seems to work better at
preventing vomiting than existing drugs."

Aprepitant has minimal side effects, he added, and is
longer lasting than other currently used anti-vomiting drugs.