New Treatment Developed to Prevent Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy Treatments
Nausea (feeling the urge to vomit, or throw up) and vomiting are probably the most common side effects of many cancer treatments, especially during cycles of chemotherapy treatment. Nausea and/or vomiting can sometimes last for several days after the chemotherapy treatment stops.
Some children may become extremely anxious when they are about to have chemotherapy or other treatments for cancer, which may cause them to vomit even before chemotherapy is given and/or may cause vomiting to last longer after treatment.
According to a recent study co-authored by a Sanford Health physician and published in the New England Journal of Medicine, A drug that blocks neurotransmitters could reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy
Sanford oncologist and cancer researcher Steven Powell, M.D., was among a team of researchers who discovered that the drug olanzapine, (FDA approved for use as an anti-psychotic agent), significantly improved nausea prevention in patients receiving chemotherapy for cancer treatment. The drug blocks neurotransmitters involved with nausea and vomiting.
“We’ve long known the nausea and vomiting that come along with chemotherapy are a major problem and affect the quality of life of our patients,” said Powell. “The findings of this study, fortunately, provide physicians with a tool to better address the needs of those they are treating for cancer.”
According to researchers, 74% of study participants experienced no nausea or vomiting within the first day after treatment when their chemotherapy was paired with olanzapine. When a placebo was used instead of olanzapine, that figure dropped to 45%. This benefit continued for five days after chemotherapy treatment for many patients.
The study, “Olanzapine for the Prevention of Chemotherapy-induced Nausea and Vomiting,” was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
Powell is a Sanford Cancer Center oncologist who also designs and oversees clinical research studies involving immunotherapy and precision medicine for cancer care. He served as the community co-chair of the study, which was available throughout Sanford as part of the NCI Community Oncology Research Program (NCORP).
NCORP is a national network of investigators, cancer care providers, academic institutions and other organizations that conduct cancer clinical trials and studies in community based health care systems. Sanford’s involvement with NCORP allowed for this research and a growing number of clinical trials in upper Midwest, according to Powell.