New options and controversies in the management of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

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An expanding array of options for prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV), including regimens containing olanzapine or recently approved neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor antagonists, are reviewed.


Up to 80% of patients receiving chemotherapy have CINV. Current practice guidelines recommend that patients treated with highly emetogenic chemotherapy also receive a 3-drug antiemetic regimen initiated on the day of and continued for 3 days after chemotherapy administration, with the most commonly used 3-drug regimen consisting of an NK1 receptor antagonist, a 5-hydroxytryptamine type 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonist, and dexamethasone. Developments in the area of CINV management in recent years include the use of olanzapine in combination with a 5-HT3 antagonist and dexamethasone; Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the NK1 receptor antagonist rolapitant, which provides a longer duration of effect than aprepitant; FDA approval of a combination product containing palonosetron and the NK1 receptor antagonist netupitant; and revisions of U.S. practice guidelines ending palonosetron's status as the preferred 5-HT3 antagonist for prevention of CINV associated with moderately or highly emetogenic chemotherapy.


Newer therapeutic options for the management of CINV are equivalent to standard-of-care regimens in terms of efficacy and toxicity. While the NK1 receptor antagonist rolapitant and a product combining palonosetron and netupitant have potential advantages over standard therapy in terms of convenience or pharmacologic properties, their relatively high costs must be considered.

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