Purpose: The safety, antiemetic efficacy, and pharmacokinetics of single oral doses of dolasetron, a new highly selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonist, were evaluated in children with cancer undergoing treatment with moderately to highly emetogenic chemotherapy.
Patients and methods: A total of 32 children, ages 3 to 18 years, were enrolled in a nonrandomized, multicenter, open-label, dose-escalation study. Three oral dose levels (0.6, 1.2, or 1.8 mg/kg) were studied. Safety, efficacy, and pharmacokinetic parameters were assessed over 24 hours at each dosage level.
Results: The most effective dose was 1.8 mg/kg; 60% of the patients achieved a complete or major response (< or =2 emetic episodes in 24 hours). A complete response was achieved in 3 of 9 patients (33%) who received 0.6 mg/kg, 4 of 13 (31%) patients who received 1.2 mg/kg, and 5 of 10 (50%) patients who received 1.8 mg/kg of dolasetron. Overall, dolasetron was well tolerated. Adverse events were mild and similar to those reported in adults. Peak plasma concentrations (Cmax) of dolasetron's active reduced metabolite, MDL 74,156, were dose proportional and occurred, on the average, within 1 hour of oral administration. The half-life (t1/2) in plasma was approximately 6 hours for all dose levels, and the mean clearance (CLapp) was unrelated to dose.
Conclusions: Oral dolasetron is safe and effective in reducing chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting, particularly at the 1.8-mg/kg dose level. These results support further evaluation of oral dolasetron in larger randomized clinical trials in the pediatric cancer population.