Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Aprepitant

Examples

Generic NameBrand Name
aprepitantEmend

Emend is available as capsules you can swallow. The capsules come in multiple strengths. It may also be given intravenously.

How It Works

Aprepitant prevents and controls nausea and vomiting by blocking the effects of a chemical in the brain. That chemical is called P/neurokinin 1 (NK1) receptor antagonist.

Why It Is Used

Aprepitant is used to prevent and control nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is always used in combination with serotonin antagonists (such as ondansetron) and dexamethasone.

Aprepitant is most often used when the other drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting have not worked well enough.

How Well It Works

Aprepitant, when combined with ondansetron and dexamethasone as part of a 3-day regimen, prevents both acute and delayed nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

Side Effects

All medicines have side effects. But many people don't feel the side effects, or they are able to deal with them. Ask your pharmacist about the side effects of each medicine you take. Side effects are also listed in the information that comes with your medicine.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Usually the benefits of the medicine are more important than any minor side effects.
  • Side effects may go away after you take the medicine for a while.
  • If side effects still bother you and you wonder if you should keep taking the medicine, call your doctor. He or she may be able to lower your dose or change your medicine. Do not suddenly quit taking your medicine unless your doctor tells you to.

Call911or other emergency services right away if you have:

Call your doctor if you have:

Common side effects of this medicine include:

See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)

What To Think About

Aprepitant interacts with many other drugs. Be sure that your doctor knows all the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are taking.

Blood-thinning drugs, such as warfarin, may not work as well when you take aprepitant. If you are taking a blood thinner, you will need frequent blood tests to make sure that your dose is high enough.

Taking medicine

Medicine is one of the many tools your doctor has to treat a health problem. Taking medicine as your doctor suggests will improve your health and may prevent future problems. If you don't take your medicines properly, you may be putting your health (and perhaps your life) at risk.

There are many reasons why people have trouble taking their medicine. But in most cases, there is something you can do. For suggestions on how to work around common problems, see the topic Taking Medicines as Prescribed.

Advice for women

Aprepitant decreases the effectiveness of birth control pills. If you are taking birth control pills, your doctor will help you choose another method of birth control.

If you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant, do not use any medicines unless your doctor tells you to. Some medicines can harm your baby. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, herbs, and supplements. And make sure that all your doctors know that you are pregnant, breast-feeding, or planning to get pregnant.

Checkups

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Complete the new medication information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you understand this medication.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerBrian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology
Last RevisedDecember 14, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: December 14, 2012
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.

Today on WebMD

Building a Support System
Blog
cancer fighting foods
SLIDESHOW
 
precancerous lesions slideshow
SLIDESHOW
quit smoking tips
SLIDESHOW
 
Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
Blog
what is your cancer risk
HEALTH CHECK
 
colorectal cancer treatment advances
Video
breast cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
prostate cancer overview
SLIDESHOW
lung cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
 
ovarian cancer overview slideshow
SLIDESHOW
Actor Michael Douglas
Article