Font Size
A
A
A

Nausea and Vomiting (Professional) (cont.)

Nonpharmacologic Management of Nausea and Vomiting (Emesis)

Nonpharmacologic strategies are also used to manage nausea and vomiting (emesis). These include the following:

  • Dietary alterations. (Refer to the Nausea subsection of the Nutritional Suggestions for Symptom Management section in the PDQ summary on Nutrition in Cancer Care for more information.)
  • Hypnosis.
  • Acupuncture. (Refer to the PDQ summary on Acupuncture for more information.)
  • Acupressure.
  • Relaxation techniques.
  • Behavioral therapy.
  • Guided imagery.

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.)

Radiation Therapy

Correlates

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.

Prevalence

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.[1]

Treatment

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.

References:

  1. Kris MG, Hesketh PJ, Somerfield MR, et al.: American Society of Clinical Oncology guideline for antiemetics in oncology: update 2006. J Clin Oncol 24 (18): 2932-47, 2006.
  2. Spitzer TR, Grunberg SM, Dicato MA: Antiemetic strategies for high-dose chemoradiotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Support Care Cancer 6 (3): 233-6, 1998.
  3. Prentice HG, Cunningham S, Gandhi L, et al.: Granisetron in the prevention of irradiation-induced emesis. Bone Marrow Transplant 15 (3): 445-8, 1995.
  4. Schwella N, König V, Schwerdtfeger R, et al.: Ondansetron for efficient emesis control during total body irradiation. Bone Marrow Transplant 13 (2): 169-71, 1994.
eMedicineHealth Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http://cancer.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

Some material in CancerNet™ is from copyrighted publications of the respective copyright claimants. Users of CancerNet™ are referred to the publication data appearing in the bibliographic citations, as well as to the copyright notices appearing in the original publication, all of which are hereby incorporated by reference.






Medical Dictionary