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Anzemet for Chemotherapy Nausea and Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are some of the most common and debilitating side effects of chemotherapy. Some types of chemotherapy are more likely to cause nausea and vomiting than others. Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy are likely due to many causes.
The main symptoms of nausea are feeling sick to your stomach and feeling like you might vomit, while vomiting is actually "throwing up." In general, Anzemet is better at preventing vomiting than preventing nausea. It is much easier to prevent nausea and vomiting than to treat it once it starts. Anzemet is licensed to prevent nausea and vomiting, but it is not a treatment for vomiting or nausea.
Only the tablet form of Anzemet is approved for this use, as the IV form has a high risk for a dangerous heart rhythm when given for this particular reason. 

How Does Anzemet Work?

Nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting are complex processes involving many chemicals in the body and several parts of the body, including the brain and the small intestine. It is likely that Anzemet works in the small intestine, but it may also work in the brain.
Anzemet works by blocking serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that is associated with nausea and vomiting. Serotonin has many effects in the body and has several receptors where it can bind. Anzemet blocks serotonin at a specific type of receptor (the 5-HT3 receptor), which is important for nausea and vomiting. It has no effects on other types of serotonin receptors in the body.

Anzemet Use in Children

Anzemet is approved for use in children age two and older. Talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of using Anzemet in children. For children too young to swallow tablets, the IV form can be mixed with juice and given orally. 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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