Drug Helps Queasy Chemotherapy Patients

Controls nausea and vomiting

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WEDNESDAY, March 26, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new drug to control severe nausea and vomiting among cancer patients who receive certain types of chemotherapy has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Merck & Co.'s Emend (aprepitant) is the first drug to prevent the debilitating symptoms that many people experience more than 24 hours after receiving chemo, the agency says. The nausea and vomiting can be so severe that some patients refuse additional chemotherapy, which could help save their lives.

Emend is part of a three-drug therapy that blocks the brain receptors that trigger nausea and vomiting. In clinical trials on more than 1,000 chemotherapy patients, 42 percent fewer participants had these symptoms than those on standard anti-vomiting treatments, the FDA says.

The new drug may interact with other forms of chemotherapy. And the agency warns that women on the pill should consider other forms of birth control while using Emend, while people on blood thinners like warfarin and Coumadin should have their blood tested after using the new drug.

Here is the FDA Talk Paper about Emend. For more about chemotherapy and these side effects, visit the National Cancer Institute.

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