This medication is used alone or with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drug treatment (chemotherapy). Dolasetron belongs to a class of medications called 5-HT3 blockers. It works by blocking one of the body's natural substances (serotonin) that causes vomiting.
This form of dolasetron should not be used to prevent nausea or vomiting after surgery because of the risk of serious side effects. However, the injection form of this medication may be used after surgery. Ask your doctor for details.
Take this medication by mouth, usually within 1 hour before your cancer chemotherapy or within 2 hours before surgery, or as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with or without food. However, your doctor may tell you not to eat before chemotherapy or surgery.
Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. The usual maximum dose is 100 milligrams. For children, the dosage may also be based on age and weight. Take this medication exactly as directed to get the most benefit from it. Do not take more medication or take it more often than prescribed. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you have questions.
Inform your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens.
Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but stop taking this medication and seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.
In the US -
Before taking dolasetron, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or to other 5-HT3 blockers (e.g., granisetron, ondansetron); or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.
Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: heart problems (e.g., irregular heartbeat), stomach/intestinal problems (e.g., recent surgery, ileus, swelling), kidney disease.
Dolasetron may cause a condition that affects the heart rhythm (QT prolongation). QT prolongation can infrequently result in serious (rarely fatal) fast/irregular heartbeat and other symptoms (such as severe dizziness, fainting) that need medical attention right away.
The risk of QT prolongation may be increased if you have certain medical conditions or are taking other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Before using dolasetron, tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take and if you have any of the following conditions: certain heart problems (heart failure, slow heartbeat, QT prolongation in the EKG), family history of certain heart problems (QT prolongation in the EKG, sudden cardiac death).
Low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood may also increase your risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if you use certain drugs (such as diuretics/"water pills") or if you have conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting. Talk to your doctor about using dolasetron safely.
This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.
To minimize dizziness and light-headedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
Caution is advised when using this drug in children with heart problems because they may be more sensitive to the heart effects (e.g., irregular heartbeat) of the drug.
Older adults may be more sensitive to the side effects of this drug, especially irregular heartbeat and QT prolongation (see above).
This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.
Drug interactions may change how your medications work or increase your risk for serious side effects. This document does not contain all possible drug interactions. Keep a list of all the products you use (including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicines without your doctor's approval.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: apomorphine, drugs that can slow the heart rate (such as beta blockers including atenolol, calcium channel blockers including verapamil), cimetidine, previous treatment with certain chemotherapy drugs (anthracyclines such as daunorubicin/doxorubicin), rifamycins (e.g., rifampin).
Many drugs besides dolasetron may affect the heart rhythm (QT prolongation), including dofetilide, pimozide, procainamide, amiodarone, quinidine, ziprasidone, sotalol, macrolide antibiotics (such as erythromycin), among others. Therefore, before using dolasetron, report all medications you are currently using to your doctor or pharmacist.
The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/"ecstasy," St. John's wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.
If overdose is suspected, contact a poison control center or emergency room immediately. US residents can call their local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. Canada residents can call a provincial poison control center.
Do not share this medication with others.
Laboratory and/or medical tests (such as EKG, blood mineral levels) may be performed periodically to monitor your progress or check for side effects. Consult your doctor for more details.
Tell your doctor if you forget to take your dose at the correct time before your scheduled chemotherapy appointment or surgery.
Store the US product at room temperature between 68-77 degrees F (20-25 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
Store the Canadian product at 59-86 degrees F (15-30 degrees C) away from light and moisture. Do not store in the bathroom.
Keep all medicines away from children and pets.
Do not flush medications down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. Properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist or local waste disposal company for more details about how to safely discard your product.
Information last revised November 2014. Copyright(c) 2014 First Databank, Inc.
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