Antiemetics

Antiemetics

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Important Safety Information

Antiemetics are prescription medications used to treat patients who are experiencing nausea and vomiting as side effects of other medications — you can usually tell if nausea and vomiting are side effects if you started experiencing them soon after commencing treatment with a new drug. They are commonly used in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Antiemetics can also be used to treat infections, severe cases of gastroenteritis, and hyperemesis (severe morning sickness) during pregnancy. These could include antihistamines, serotonin antagonists, dopamine antagonists, corticosteroids, NK1 receptor antagonists, benzodiazepines, or other agents. Common types of antiemetics include Emetrol, Dramamine, bismuth sub salicylate, and Bonine.

While they can be used to treat pediatric and adult patients, talk with your doctor about your options if the patient is a child. Certain types of antiemetics should not be administered to children 12 years of age or younger.

If nausea or vomiting are accompanied by a fever, jaundice, bleeding, or abdominal pain, tell your doctor immediately. These may be signs of a more serious underlying medical condition.

What is the most important information I should know about Antiemetics?

Prior to starting treatment, tell your doctor about all medications you’re currently taking — whether they’re prescription, over-the-counter, herbal supplements, or vitamins — as interacting with other drugs could increase the risk of side effects. Also, discuss your medical history thoroughly. It is possible for medications for arthritis, gout, diabetes, the common cold, and blood thinners to result in adverse reactions when mixed with antiemetics.

If using Dexamethasone, you may develop glucose intolerance. Use with care if you have diabetes mellitus. By the same token, corticosteroids may cause sleep disturbances. Talk with your doctor about your sleeping patterns and let them know if it has been interrupted during treatment.

Side Effects of Antiemetics

As with any prescription medications, taking antiemetics comes with a risk of side effects. These may vary depending on the type of antiemetic drug you’re taking. The most common effects include:

  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Heartburn
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Decreased urination
  • Tinnitus
  • Muscle spasms
  • Restlessness

Depending on the type of antiemetic used, some patients may experience involuntary facial movements up to 24 hours after treatment. In rare cases, it may be possible to experience more serious side effects that require medical attention. Tell your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Hearing loss
  • Severe drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe constipation
  • Worsening of nausea and/or vomiting
  • Convulsions

Tell your doctor if you experience any negative side effects. You are also encouraged to report such side effects to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by visiting www.fda.gov/medwatch, or by calling 1-800-FDA-1088.