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New Drug Prevents Chemo-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

Palonosetron is at least as effective as currently available treatment

THURSDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Prevention of delayed chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is significantly improved with the second-generation 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 (5-HT3)-receptor antagonist palonosetron compared with granisetron, according to the results of a study published online Jan. 8 in The Lancet Oncology.

Mitsue Saito, M.D., of Juntendo University Hospital in Tokyo, and colleagues conducted a double-blind, double-dummy, phase III trial comparing the standard first-generation 5-HT3-receptor antagonist granisetron with the investigational drug palonosetron. Both drugs were administered in combination with dexamethasone. A total of 1,143 cancer patients were randomly assigned to receive one of the drugs, and they received the study therapy 30 minutes prior to receiving chemotherapy on day 1, followed by subsequent doses on days 2 and 3.

Palonosetron was found to be non-inferior to granisetron for inducing a complete response during the acute phase (0-24 hours after chemotherapy) of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (75.3 percent for palonosetron versus 73.3 percent for granisetron), the researchers report. However, significantly more patients in the palonosetron arm experienced a complete response during the delayed phase (24-120 hours after chemotherapy) compared with patients in the granisetron arm (56.8 percent versus 44.5 percent), the investigators found. Both drugs had comparable safety profiles, the report indicates.

"Palonosetron seems to be a safe and effective drug for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic chemotherapy, when administered prophylactically with dexamethasone," the authors conclude.

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