Special Announcement (July 16, 2012): The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is informing the public of an ongoing safety review of the anti-nausea drug Zofran (ondansetron, ondansetron hydrochloride and their generics). Ondansetron may increase the risk of developing abnormal changes in the electrical activity of the heart, which can result in a potentially fatal abnormal heart rhythm. Please visit the FDA website for additional information. The previous FDA announcement about cardiac rhythm abnormalities irrespective of dose is also available.
Purpose: To update the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) guideline for antiemetics in oncology.
Methods: A systematic review of the medical literature was completed to inform this update. MEDLINE, the Cochrane Collaboration Library, and meeting materials from ASCO and the Multinational Association for Supportive Care in Cancer were all searched. Primary outcomes of interest were complete response and rates of any vomiting or nausea.
Results: Thirty-seven trials met prespecified inclusion and exclusion criteria for this systematic review. Two systematic reviews from the Cochrane Collaboration were identified; one surveyed the pediatric literature. The other compared the relative efficacy of the 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 (5-HT3) antagonists.
Recommendations: Combined anthracycline and cyclophosphamide regimens were reclassified as highly emetic. Patients who receive this combination or any highly emetic agents should receive a 5-HT3 antagonist, dexamethasone, and a neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor antagonist. A large trial validated the equivalency of fosaprepitant, a single-day formulation, with aprepitant; either therapy is appropriate. Preferential use of palonosetron is recommended for moderate emetic risk regimens, combined with dexamethasone. For low-risk agents, patients can be offered dexamethasone before the first dose of chemotherapy. Patients undergoing high emetic risk radiation therapy should receive a 5-HT3 antagonist before each fraction and for 24 hours after treatment and may receive a 5-day course of dexamethasone before fractions 1 to 5. The Update Committee noted the importance of continued symptom monitoring throughout therapy. Clinicians underestimate the incidence of nausea, which is not as well controlled as emesis.
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Disclaimer: The clinical practice guidelines and other guidance published herein are provided by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. ("ASCO") to assist practitioners in clinical decision making. The information therein should not be relied upon as being complete or accurate, nor should it be considered as inclusive of all proper treatments or methods of care or as a statement of the standard of care. With the rapid development of scientific knowledge, new evidence may emerge between the time information is developed and when it is published or read. The information is not continually updated and may not reflect the most recent evidence. The information addresses only the topics specifically identified therein and is not applicable to other interventions, diseases, or stages of diseases. This information does not mandate any particular course of medical care. Further, the information is not intended to substitute for the independent professional judgment of the treating physician, as the information does not account for individual variation among patients. Recommendations reflect high, moderate or low confidence that the recommendation reflects the net effect of a given course of action. The use of words like "must," "must not," "should," and "should not" indicate that a course of action is recommended or not recommended for either most or many patients, but there is latitude for the treating physician to select other courses of action in individual cases. In all cases, the selected course of action should be considered by the treating physician in the context of treating the individual patient. Use of the information is voluntary. ASCO provides this information on an "as is" basis, and makes no warranty, express or implied, regarding the information. ASCO specifically disclaims any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular use or purpose. ASCO assumes no responsibility for any injury or damage to persons or property arising out of or related to any use of this information or for any errors or omissions.
Last updated: July 16, 2012