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We evaluated the efficacy of granisetron, 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 receptor antagonist, given orally, preoperatively, for the prevention of postoperative vomiting in children undergoing general anaesthesia for surgery (inguinal hernia, phimosis-circumcision).In a randomized, double-blinded manner, 100 children, ASA physical status I, aged 4–11 years, received orally placebo or granisetron at three different doses (20 μg·kg−1, 40 μg·kg−1, 80 μg·kg−1) 60 min before surgery (n = 25 of each). The same standard general anaesthetic technique was used.The percentage of patients being emesis-free during 0–6 h after anaesthesia was 56% with placebo, 64% with graniseron 20 μg·kg−1 (P = 0.773), 88% with granisetron 40 μg·kg−1 (P = 0.027) and 92% with granisetron 80 μg·kg−1 (P = 0.01); the corresponding rate during 6–24 h after anaesthesia was 60%, 68% (P = 0.768), 92% (P = 0.02) and 92% (P = 0.02) (P-values versus placebo). No clinically serious adverse events were observed in any of the groups.In summary, preoperative oral granisetron 40 μg·kg−1 is effective for the prevention of vomiting following paediatric surgery (inguinal hernia, phimosis-circumcision). Increasing the doses to 80 μg·kg−1 provides no demonstrable additional benefit.