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5HT3-receptor antagonists as antiemetics in cancer
  • Relevant BNF sections: 4.6, 8.1


Effective antiemetic therapy is crucial for patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy for cancer. Severe nausea and vomiting associated with such cancer treatment can lead to anxiety, anorexia, dehydration, electrolyte disturbance and renal failure, and may interrupt cancer therapy, demoralise patients or even cause them to abandon treatment.,2 In 1992, we welcomed the introduction of ondansetron, the first selective serotonin type 3- (5HT3-) receptor antagonist marketed in the UK, as an important advance in preventing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.3 Several selective 5HT3-receptor antagonists are now licensed. They are widely prescribed to patients receiving cancer treatment, but not always appropriately. Here we review their optimal use.

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  • Relevant BNF sections: 4.6, 8.1

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