Ondansetronis also known by the brand name Zofran. As a medication used to prevent nausea and vomiting, geared especially for patients post chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, ondansetron is a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. By blocking the activity of serotonin, a natural substance believed to cause nausea and vomiting, ondansetron is an effective antiemetic. Offered as a tablet, a rapidly disintegrating tablet, or an oral solution, ondansetron is typically taken prior to chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as before major surgery, to ward off potential nausea and vomiting. Generally well tolerated, side effects of ondansetron include headache, dizziness, constipation, and diarrhea.
Zofran is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, and there are several generic forms of ondansetron available from Teva Pharmaceuticals, Kali Laboratories and Baxter Healthcare. Dosages range from 4 to 8 milligram tablets, with the disintegrating tablets being a 4 milligram strength. The oral solution of ondansetron is 5 milligrams per 5 milliliters, or one teaspoon.
Patients experiencing post treatment or post surgery nausea and vomiting are not the only patients who can benefit from being treated with ondansetron. Routinely given to children with severe cases of gastroenteritis as an off label treatment, doctors find ondansetron to be a safer and better choice for children with the stomach flu. Phenergan, a typical drug choice for pediatricians treating children with dangerous episodes of vomiting, received an FDA warning several years ago declaring it unsafe for children under age two. In addition, older children experience overwhelming drowsiness, making it difficult for them to stay awake to eat and drink to combat dehydration, even without the ongoing nausea and vomiting. Ondansetron is efficacious as a small, one time dose, which alleviates symptoms leading to dehydration, which is especially risky for children with medical conditions such as diabetes.
Ondansetron is proving itself to be a formidable treatment for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis who are taking methotrexate. In the January 2012 issue of Rheumatology News, a revered physician from Manchester England shared his suggestion for patients taking methotrexate, and dealing with the adverse effects of nausea. He suggested taking ondansetron 2 hours prior to a methotrexate injection, and then again 12 hours after the methotrexate dose. Dr. Richard Warren assured colleagues that taking a reliable drug like ondansetron would effectively create a better environment for patients taking antifolates, like methotrexate, which are known to cause debilitating nausea. Opportunities utilizing ondansetron are vast, with researchers exploring the use of ondansetron in patients with not only nausea and vomiting, but also as an adjunct drug in the treatment of Schizophrenia.
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