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An anti-emetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Anti-emetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of opioid analgesics, general anaesthetics and chemotherapy directed against cancer.

Anti-emetics include:

  • 5-HT3 receptor antagonists - these block serotonin receptors in the central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. As such, they can be used to treat post-operative and cytotoxic drug nausea & vomiting.
    • Dolasetron (Anzemet) - can be administered in tablet form or in an injection.
    • Granisetron (Kytril, Sancuso) - can be administered in tablet (Kytril), oral solution (Kytril), injection (Kytril), or in a single transdermal patch to the upper arm (SANCUSO).
    • Ondansetron (Zofran) - administered in an oral tablet form, oral dissolving tablet form, or in an injection.
    • Tropisetron (Navoban) - can be administered in oral capsules or in injection form.
    • Palonosetron (Aloxi) - can be administered in an injection or in oral capsules.
    • Mirtazapine (Remeron), an antidepressant that also has antiemetic effects.[citation needed]
  • Steroids
    • Dexamethasone given in low dose at the onset of a general anaesthetic for surgery is an effective anti-emetic. The specific mechanism of action is not fully understood.
  • Benzodiazepines
    • Midazolam given at the onset of anaesthesia has been shown in recent trials to be as effective as ondansetron, a 5HT3 antagonist in the prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting. Further studies need to be undertaken.
  • Cannabinoids are second-line therapy, used in patients with cytotoxic nausea & vomiting unresponsive to other agents. Drowsiness and dizziness are frequent side-effects.
  • Other
    • Trimethobenzamide; thought to work on the CTZ
    • Ginger
    • Emetrol also claims to be an effective anti-emetic.
    • Propofol given intravenously has been used in an acute care setting in hospital as a rescue therapy for emesis.

Drugs for sorting

See also



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