Chemotherapy is a complex but important process for cancer patients, since it is responsible for administering, intravenously or orally, a series of specific drugs to attack cancer cells.

Despite this, it has notorious side effects such as hair loss, fatigue or even lowered defenses due to a low presence of white blood cells , therefore, drugs such as ondansetron can be prescribed to counteract these reactions.

In this sense, we will study with this article what ondansetron is for , taking into account its effects and adequate doses.

What is ondansetron?

Ondansetron is an active principle, with which commercial or generic drugs are made, whose properties are antiemetic and antivertiginous , capable of controlling nausea and vomiting .

The presentation of ondansetron is in the form of tablets and ampoules, whose administration is orally or intravenously . Ondansetron doses are very specific and depend on the patient’s condition, but always start with 8 mg over 8 hours.

Note: A medical study mentions that: “ The efficacy of ondansetron in highly emetogenic chemotherapy can be enhanced by the addition of a single 20 mg iv dose of dexamethasone sodium phosphate administered before chemotherapy” . (1)

What is ondansetron used for?

Ondansetron is a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, whose action is on the peripheral nervous system, which is also related to postrema, which is an area of ​​the brain stem responsible for vomiting and nausea reflexes.

To highlight: Ondansetron is prescribed to prevent or control nausea and vomiting, induced during the treatment of chemotherapies with cytotoxic drugs (responsible for damaging cancer cells) or radiotherapy (where radiation interferes with healthy cells in the body).

Ondansetron Side Effects

As it is a strong drug for processes related to cancer treatment, it is common to see adverse reactions also occur during the administration of ondansetron. Therefore it is important to be aware of:

Important: A study mentions the following information: “The drug ondansetron prolongs the transit time in the large intestine, so patients with signs of subacute intestinal obstruction should be monitored after administration” . (two)

Ondansetron contraindications

For patient safety reasons, ondansetron is not recommended for a number of people whose interaction with the drug may be negative. Therefore, it is not recommended in these cases:

  • Hypersensitivity to the active substance.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Heart failure.
  • Alterations in heart rhythm.
  • Lactose intolerance .

You should know: A medical study mentions that: ” Exposure to the drug ondansetron can be difficult, depending on access to records of previous surgeries and previous exposure to ondansetron can be the cause of sensitization . ” (3)

Key Findings

  • Ondansetron is a medicine to treat nausea and vomiting. 
  • Ondansetron is prescribed for chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments. 
  • Ondansetron can cause gastrointestinal problems as side effects. 
  • The administration of ondansetron is not indicated for patients with cardiac problems .

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