December 28, 2005

Cyclical vomiting: not just for children

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cyclical vomiting syndrome is
well recognized in children, but now new research indicates
that it can affect adults as well.

With cyclical vomiting syndrome, patients experience nausea
and vomiting lasting several hours or even days. These episodes
are separated by symptom-free intervals usually lasting for
weeks or months, according to a report in the journal BMC

In the present study, Dr. David R. Fleisher, from the
University of Missouri School of Medicine in Columbia, and
colleagues describe the clinical condition and treatment of 41
adult patients who met the standard definition for having
cyclical vomiting syndrome.

The age at which cyclical vomiting began in these patients
ranged from 2 to 49 years, and the duration of disease ranged
from less than 1 year to 49 years.

The authors found that cyclical vomiting episodes often
started at the same hour of the day, had the same symptoms, and
lasted for the same amount of time. Ninety-three percent of
patients experienced a "prodromal phase," when they knew an
episode was coming.

In particular, migraines and panic attacks seemed to be
common triggers for cyclic vomiting episodes.

With supportive care, the long-term prognosis of people
suffering from cyclical vomiting syndrome is generally good,
the authors state. Some medicines may or may not have a
beneficial effect, but surgery, such as gallbladder removal,
does not provide relief.

SOURCE: BMC Medicine, online December 20, 2005.