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Zofran With Chemotherapy

How Does Zofran Work for Preventing Nausea and Vomiting?

One of the reasons that chemotherapy can cause nausea and vomiting is due to the body's increased production of serotonin in response to the chemotherapy. Zofran works to prevent nausea and vomiting by blocking serotonin at certain receptors in the body.
Serotonin has many effects in the body, and different receptors are responsible for the different effects of serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in many disorders, including depression and migraine headaches. However, Zofran blocks the 5-HT3 receptor type and has little effect on the other receptors. This means that Zofran is not likely to have an effect on depression or migraines or the medications that treat these conditions.
Before Zofran was approved, there were several studies that looked at its effects. One study looked at Zofran for chemotherapy regimens that were very likely to cause nausea and vomiting. In this study of people taking Zofran, 66 percent had no vomiting and 56 percent had no nausea within the first day after chemotherapy. Vomiting was much more likely for people who did not take Zofran; more than 90 percent of these people experienced vomiting. This study did not look at nausea or vomiting beyond the first day after chemotherapy. Similar results were seen in studies for chemotherapy associated with vomiting in children and in people undergoing chemotherapy regimens that were moderately likely to cause nausea and vomiting.

Zofran Dosage for Chemotherapy

The dose of Zofran your healthcare provider recommends to treat nausea and vomiting will vary depending on a number of factors, including:
  • Your age
  • The medical condition you are being treated for
  • Other medical conditions you may have
  • Other medications you may currently be taking.
The dose of Zofran depends on the type of chemotherapy and whether you are at high risk or medium risk of experiencing nausea and vomiting.
  • High-risk chemotherapy: The dose of Zofran for high-risk chemotherapy is Zofran 24 mg (taken as three 8 mg tablets) 30 minutes before chemotherapy.
  • Medium-risk chemotherapy: The dose of Zofran for medium-risk chemotherapy is Zofran 8 mg twice daily. The first dose should be taken 30 minutes before chemotherapy, and the second dose should be taken eight hours after the first dose. After that, Zofran should be taken twice a day (about every 12 hours) until one to two days after chemotherapy.
The dose of Zofran for children depends on their age:
  • For children 12 years old and above, the dose is the same as the adult dose.
  • For children age 4 through 11, the dose is Zofran 4 mg three times daily. The first dose each day should be given 30 minutes before the start of chemotherapy. The second dose should be given four hours after the first dose, and the third dose should be given eight hours after the first dose. For one to two days after chemotherapy, Zofran 4 mg should be taken three times a day (about every eight hours).
As is always the case, do not adjust your dose unless your healthcare provider specifically instructs you to do so.
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