Nausea and Vomiting (Professional) (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
Nonpharmacologic Management of Nausea and Vomiting (Emesis)
Nonpharmacologic strategies are also used to manage nausea and vomiting (emesis). These include the following:
Guided imagery, hypnosis, and systematic desensitization as means to progressive muscle relaxation have been the most frequently studied treatments for anticipatory nausea and vomiting (ANV) and are the recommended treatments for this classically conditioned response. (Refer to the Treatment of ANV section of this summary for more information.)
Patients receiving radiation to the gastrointestinal (GI) tract or brain have the greatest potential for nausea and vomiting (emesis) (N&V) as side effects. Because cells of the GI tract are dividing quickly, they are quite sensitive to radiation therapy. Radiation to the brain is believed to stimulate the brain's vomiting center or chemoreceptor trigger zone. Similar to chemotherapy, radiation dose factors also play a role in determining the possible occurrence of N&V. In general, the higher the daily fractional dose and the greater the amount of tissue that is irradiated, the higher the potential for N&V. In addition, the larger the amount of GI tract irradiated (particularly for fields that include the small intestine and stomach), the higher the potential for N&V. Total-body irradiation before bone marrow transplant, for example, has a high probability of inducing N&V as acute side effects.
N&V from radiation may be acute and self-limiting, usually occurring 30 minutes to several hours after treatment. Patients report that symptoms improve on days that they are not being treated. There are also cumulative effects that may occur in patients receiving radiation therapy to the GI tract.
Complete control rates with 5-HT3 receptor antagonists for total-body irradiation vary from 50% to 90%.[2,3,4] The role of corticosteroids in combination with 5-HT3 receptor antagonists has not been studied.
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