Published: Mar. 28, 2007
Updated: Aug. 22, 2011
Nausea is a distressful or woozy feeling of the stomach that may be accompanied by a strong urge to throw up. Vomiting is the throwing up of stomach contents.
These are temporary side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. These symptoms may also be caused by a bowel obstruction.
It is natural for the person with cancer to be concerned about nausea and vomiting. It is important for you to know that much progress has been made over the past few years in medications to control nausea caused by cancer treatments.
Many people have no nausea or vomiting at all after their treatments.
Call your health care provider if you have any of the following:
The most common medications for nausea and vomiting are listed as follows. Your health care provider will instruct you on which ones to take, and how to take them.
Do not mix medicines without contacting your medical team. These medicines are only available by prescription.
|Trade Name||Generic Name||Usual Dose||Comments|
|* These drugs are very effective but also very expensive. Let your health care provider know if you do not have a prescription plan with your health insurance and the cost would be a burden for you.|
|Compazine®||Prochlorperazine||10 mg by mouth, every 4 to 6 hours; 25 mg by rectal suppository every 4-6 hours||May cause sleepiness or restlessness; suppositories are good if you cannot keep down any medicines taken by mouth|
|Phenergan®||Promethazine||12.5-25 mg by mouth, every 4 to 6 hours; 12.5 - 50 mg by rectal suppository every 4 to 6 hours||May cause dizziness or drowsiness; suppositories are good if you cannot keep down any medicines taken by mouth|
|Ativan®||Lorazepam||0.5-1 mg by mouth, every 4 to 6 hours||May cause dizziness and drowsiness|
|Kytril®*||Granisetron||1 mg by mouth, every 12 hours||May cause headache, diarrhea, or constipation|
|Zofran®*||Ondansetron||8 mg by mouth, every 12 hours||May cause headache, dizziness, diarrhea, or constipation|
|Emend®*||Aprepitant||125mg by mouth the day of chemo, 80mg by mouth, days 2 and 3||Potential drug interactions; recommended for only certain chemotherapies or after the medicines above do not work; may cause dizziness, drowsiness, diarrhea, or constipation|
If the nausea last only a few hours, many people prefer not to eat and to drink sips of
liquids during those hours. If the nausea lasts longer than a few hours, it is more important to find things you can eat and drink so you maintain your nutrition and your fluid balance.
Most people find frequent, small, bland meals or snacks are best. You may prefer to eat and drink foods at room temperature. The suggestions below are based on what many people have found helpful.
This article is intended as a resource for patients receiving their cancer care at Duke University Hospital or Duke Clinic. It is not intended to substitute for medical advice from your health care team. If your doctor’s instructions differ from the information in this article, please talk with your doctor before making any changes.