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Nausea and Vomiting (PDQ®): Supportive care - Health Professional Information [NCI] - Acute / Delayed Nausea and Vomiting (Emesis) Etiology

Acute Nausea and Vomiting (N&V)

  • Incidence:
    • The incidence of acute and delayed N&V was investigated in highly and moderately emetogenic chemotherapy treatment regimens. Patients were recruited from 14 oncology practices in six countries. Overall, more than 35% of patients experienced acute nausea, and 13% experienced acute emesis. In patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy, 60% experienced delayed nausea, and 50% experienced delayed emesis. In patients receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy, 52% experienced delayed nausea, and 28% experienced delayed emesis.[1] Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) was a substantial problem for patients receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy in ten community oncology clinics.[2] Thirty-six percent of patients developed acute CINV, and 59% developed delayed CINV.
  • Etiologies:
    • Chemotherapy is the most common treatment-related cause of N&V. The incidence and severity of acute emesis in persons receiving chemotherapy varies according to many factors, including the particular drug, dose, schedule of administration, route, and individual patient variables. In most cancer patients, these symptoms can be prevented or controlled.
  • Risk factors for acute emesis include:[3]
    • Poor control with prior chemotherapy.
    • Female gender.
    • Younger age.
  • Emetic classifications: The American Society of Clinical Oncology has developed a rating system for chemotherapeutic agents and their respective risk of acute and delayed emesis.[3]
    • High risk: Emesis that has been documented to occur in more than 90% of patients:
      • Cisplatin (Platinol).
      • Mechlorethamine (Mustargen).
      • Streptozotocin (Zanosar).
      • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), 1,500 mg/m2 or more.
      • Carmustine (BiCNU).
      • Dacarbazine (DTIC-Dome).
      • Dactinomycin.
    • Moderate risk: Emesis that has been documented to occur in 30% to 90% of patients:
      • Carboplatin (Paraplatin).
      • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan), less than 1,500 mg/m2.
      • Daunorubicin (DaunoXome).
      • Doxorubicin (Adriamycin).
      • Epirubicin (Pharmorubicin).
      • Idarubicin (Idamycin).
      • Oxaliplatin (Eloxatin).
      • Cytarabine (Cytosar), more than 1 g/m2.
      • Ifosfamide (Ifex).
      • Irinotecan (Camptosar).
    • Low risk: Emesis that has been documented to occur in 10% to 30% of patients:
      • Mitoxantrone (Novantrone).
      • Paclitaxel (Taxol).
      • Docetaxel (Taxotere).
      • Mitomycin (Mutamycin).
      • Topotecan (Hycamtin).
      • Gemcitabine (Gemzar).
      • Etoposide (Vepesid).
      • Pemetrexed (Alimta).
      • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex).
      • Cytarabine (Cytosar), less than 1,000 mg/m2.
      • Fluorouracil (Efudex).
      • Bortezomib (Velcade).
      • Cetuximab (Erbitux).
      • Trastuzumab (Herceptin).
    • Minimal risk: Emesis that has been documented to occur in fewer than 10% of patients:
      • Vinorelbine (Navelbine).
      • Bevacizumab (Avastin).
      • Rituximab (Rituxan).
      • Bleomycin (Blenoxane).
      • Vinblastine (Velban).
      • Vincristine (Oncovin).
      • Busulphan (Myleran).
      • Fludarabine (Fludara).
      • 2-Chlorodeoxyadenosine (Leustatin).
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