Antiemetic prophylaxis for postdischarge nausea and vomiting and impact on functional quality of living during recovery in patients with high emetic risks: a prospective, randomized, double-blind comparison of two prophylactic antiemetic regimens

Anesth Analg. 2008 Aug;107(2):429-38. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e318172f992.


Background: We compared two antiemetic prophylaxis regimens, their efficacy for preventing postdischarge nausea and vomiting, and their impact on quality of living, during recovery.

Methods: Sixty-four women undergoing outpatient gynecological surgery and at high risk for emesis were randomized into one of two groups. The study group received intraoperative IV dexamethasone 8 mg and ondansetron 4 mg, followed with an 8 mg oral disintegrating ondansetron tablet, to be taken on discharge and in the morning of postoperative days 1 and 2. The control group received only the IV ondansetron 4 mg intraoperatively. The incidence and severity of emetic symptoms and pain were assessed while patients were in the recovery room and via telephone and patient diary for 5 days after discharge. A modified functional living index of emesis was used to assess the impact on quality of living during recovery.

Results: Sixty patients, 30 in each group, completed the study. The incidences for postdischarge nausea were 57% and 20%, and for postdischarge vomiting 20% and 3% in the control and study groups, respectively, for the period between the 8th and 120th hours postanesthesia (P < 0.05). Thirty-three percent of the study and 60% of the control group reported that emetic symptoms negatively affected their quality of living (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: When compared with a single dose of intraoperative IV ondansetron prophylaxis, our study regimen of additional intraoperative dexamethasone and once a day ondansetron significantly reduced the incidence of postdischarge nausea and vomiting and its negative impact on quality of living during the first 5 days of recovery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Antiemetics / administration & dosage*
  • Dexamethasone / administration & dosage*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Ondansetron / administration & dosage*
  • Pain, Postoperative / drug therapy
  • Patient Discharge*
  • Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting / prevention & control*
  • Quality of Life


  • Antiemetics
  • Ondansetron
  • Dexamethasone