Treatment Options For Relieving Chemotherapy-Related Nausea

Many cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy treatments suffer from nausea and vomiting. The severity of these intrusive symptoms often depends upon the dose of the chemotherapeutic medication, the type of chemotherapy, and certain preexisting health conditions. While nausea and vomiting can occur soon after chemotherapy has been administered, many patients do not experience these symptoms until a couple of days after their treatments. Here are some treatments you may receive at the cancer center if you become ill as a result of your chemotherapy. 


If you develop nausea and vomiting during your chemotherapy infusion at the cancer center, your nurse will administer an antiemetic, which is a medication used to treat nausea and vomiting. One of the most common antiemetics used in conjunction with chemotherapy is ondansetron. It is also effective in treating nausea and vomiting associated with radiation therapy.

While very effective, ondansetron can cause significant side effects. These may include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, blurred vision, headaches, and constipation. Rarely, ondansetron can cause behavioral changes, agitation, loss of consciousness, and even hallucinations. After your ondansetron has been administered, your nurse at the cancer center will monitor you for any adverse reactions or side effects. 

Anti-Anxiety Medications

While chemotherapeutic agents are often responsible for nausea and vomiting, anxiety can also contribute to your symptoms. Because of this, you may be given an anti-anxiety medication before your chemo infusion begins to help keep you calm and stress-free while your chemotherapy is being administered. The physician may recommend lorazepam, which will sedate you and help prevent nausea and vomiting.

Like antiemetics, anti-anxiety medications can cause side effects. These may include dizziness, vision problems, sleepiness, urinary retention, rashes, and dry mouth. Another medication that you may receive with your anti-anxiety medication is omeprazole. This medication is known as a proton pump inhibitor and is typically prescribed for people who have acid reflux disease or severe heartburn. Anti-anxiety medications can cause acid reflux, which, in some people, can exacerbate chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting. 

If you are concerned about the possibility of nausea and vomiting due to your chemotherapy, talk to your oncologist about the above medications. In addition to the above medications, other treatment options such as corticosteroid medication, nutritional intervention, meditation, and acupuncture can also help keep you comfortable. Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting can be well-managed so that it does not interfere with your day-to-day activities. It is important to note that, while many people experience nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, some people do not experience any digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms at all. 

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