One of the common symptoms of chemotherapy treatment is nausea and vomiting. This symptom can vary in severity among patients, but most seek medical treatment for this unpleasant symptom. Various drugs are used for the treatment of this symptom- the most effective of which varies by patient. There are five main drug types commonly prescribed for the treatment of this symptom: serotonin antagonists, steroids, dopamine antagonists, anti-anxiety drugs, and cannabinoids.
Serotonin antagonists, such as Dolasetron and Ondansetron are prescribed before chemotherapy and in some cases a few days after. They are commonly prescribed along with a steroid. There drugs are on the expensive side and common side effects include headache, hiccups, and constipation. It should be noted that the drug Ondansetron, commercially know as Zofran can have more long term, serious side effects when used for its less common purposes. Zofran has been prescribed off-label to treat severe morning sickness. However, it is not uncommon for a Zofran attorney to be convinced that there is a link between Zofran use during pregnancy and children born with birth defects.
Steroids are often given they day of the chemotherapy treatment, and in many cases are already a part of a chemo plan. Side effects of steroids include trouble sleeping, increase appetite, and weight gain.
Dopamine antagonists are used “as needed” at the first sign of nausea and vomiting. These tend to be less expensive than other drugs for the treatment of this condition. Side effects include dry mouth, tiredness, and constipation.
Anti- anxiety drugs can help reduce nausea by making a patient more relaxed. Common side effects include amnesia, tiredness, and headaches.
Cannabinoids can be used to treat these symptoms when anti-emetic drugs fail to alleviate symptoms, or to stimulate appetite. The drugs include the active ingredient marijuana. Side effects include mood changes, dry mouth, and poor coordination.Read More