Options for the prevention and management of acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in children

Paediatr Drugs. 2003;5(9):597-613. doi: 10.2165/00148581-200305090-00003.


The current standard of care with respect to preventing acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in children includes the administration of a 5-HT(3) antagonist with or without a corticosteroid, depending on the emetogenicity of the chemotherapy to be given. Problems in assessing the emetogenicity of chemotherapy regimens and nausea severity in children may influence the degree of success of CINV prophylaxis. Nevertheless, the majority of children who receive chemotherapy today experience moderate to complete control of acute CINV when given appropriate antiemetic prophylaxis. If children vomit or experience nausea despite appropriate prophylaxis, then measures must be taken to treat these symptoms since these children are likely to go on to experience delayed or anticipatory CINV. However, appropriate selection of interventions to treat acute CINV in children is limited by the lack of rigorous evidence to support one approach over another. Lorazepam is suggested as an immediate agent for the treatment of acute CINV. Doses and frequencies of the 5-HT(3) antagonist and corticosteroid administered for initial prophylaxis should also be maximized. Further treatment must be tailored to the circumstances and preferences of each child and family. Options include crossover to another 5-HT(3) antagonist, or administration of an adjunctive antiemetic such as metopimazine, low dose metoclopramide, domperidone, alizapride, nabilone, scopolamine, prochlorperazine, or chlorpromazine. Complementary interventions such as acupuncture, hypnosis, counseling, or ginger may also be of benefit. Further study is required to establish optimal antiemetic strategies in children.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Antiemetics / therapeutic use*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Nausea / chemically induced
  • Nausea / drug therapy*
  • Nausea / prevention & control
  • Neoplasms / complications
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists
  • Serotonin Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Vomiting / chemically induced
  • Vomiting / drug therapy*
  • Vomiting / prevention & control


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Serotonin 5-HT3 Receptor Antagonists
  • Serotonin Antagonists