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Nausea and Vomiting

It is very important to prevent and control nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy. Uncontrolled nausea and vomiting can interfere with your ability to receive cancer treatment and care for yourself. It can also cause malnutrition, dehydration, loss of appetite, mental difficulties as well as physical difficulties, a torn esophagus, broken ribs, and the reopening of surgical wounds.

Preventing and Managing Nausea and Vomiting

Helpful Medications

  • Aloxi® (palonosetron)
  • Anzemet® (dolasetron)
  • Zofran® (ondansetron)
  • Emend® (aprepitant)
  • Decadron® (dexamethasone), Medrol® or other steroids
  • Ativan® (lorazepam)
  • Reglan® (metaclopropamide)
  • Tigan® (trimethobenzamide)
  • Kytril® (granisetron)
  • Phenergan® (promethazine)
  • Compazine® (prochlorperazine)

Tips to Manage Nausea and Vomiting

It is very important to prevent and control nausea and vomiting in patients receiving chemotherapy. Uncontrolled nausea and vomiting can interfere with your ability to receive cancer treatment and care for yourself. It can also cause malnutrition, dehydration, loss of appetite, mental difficulties as well as physical difficulties, a torn esophagus, broken ribs, and the reopening of surgical wounds.
The following are some steps you can take to manage nausea and vomiting:

  • Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes when you go to a chemotherapy appointment.
  • If you have had a prior “bad” experience with nausea and vomiting, please let your nurse or doctor know, as they may be able to prescribe a medication that will enable you to relax a little and prevent the “anticipatory” nausea and vomiting.
  • Take the preventative medications as prescribed by the doctor, even if you feel “well.”
  • Eat small, frequent meals of food that are generally bland and you can keep down. Avoid fatty and spicy food and alcohol.
  • If you become nauseated, take slow deep breaths through your nose and breathe out through your mouth. Open a window to let fresh air in. Apply a cold cloth to the back of your neck as this may help relieve the feeling of nausea.
  • Keep a symptom diary. Writing down the time and frequency of any nausea and vomiting episodes can help your healthcare provider assess your anti-nausea regimen and make the appropriate changes to better control your symptoms. If you experienced many episodes of nausea and vomiting, changes in your medications can be made.
  • Some patients have found herbal teas such as ginger or chamomile, ginger ale or the use of lavender in a pillow helps decrease their nausea prior to and during their therapy.
  • Use complimentary therapies such as deep breathing, visual imagery, meditation, prayer, talking with others, reading, listening to music, painting, or any other activity that gives you pleasure to decrease your stress level before therapy. All of the above activities can help you feel more in control of your symptoms.

Call Your Doctor If:

  • You constantly feel nauseated or are unable to stop vomiting.
  • You are unable to take your anti-nausea medication or you are vomiting up the medicine.
  • You are unable to get out of bed for more than 24 hours.
  • You are unable to eat or drink at least 1.5 liters of fluid in 24 hours.

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