Olanzapine for treatment and prevention of acute chemotherapy-induced vomiting in children: a retrospective, multi-center review

Pediatr Blood Cancer. 2015 Mar;62(3):496-501. doi: 10.1002/pbc.25286. Epub 2014 Oct 18.


Background: This retrospective review provides preliminary data regarding the safety and efficacy of olanzapine for chemotherapy-induced vomiting (CIV) control in children.

Procedure: Children <18 years old who received olanzapine for acute chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) control from December 2010 to August 2013 at four institutions were identified. Patient characteristics, chemotherapy, antiemetic prophylaxis, olanzapine dosing, CIV control, liver function test results and adverse events were abstracted from the health record. Toxicity was graded using CTCAEv4.03.

Results: Sixty children (median age 13.2 years; range: 3.10-17.96) received olanzapine during 158 chemotherapy blocks. Olanzapine was most often (59%) initiated due to a history of poorly controlled CINV. The mean initial olanzapine dose was 0.1 mg/kg/dose (range: 0.026-0.256). Most children who received olanzapine beginning on the first day of the chemotherapy block experienced complete CIV control throughout the acute phase (83/128; 65%). There was no association between the olanzapine dose/kg and complete CIV control (OR 1.01; 95% CI: 0.999-1.020; P = 0.091). Sedation was reported in 7% of chemotherapy blocks and was significantly associated with increasing olanzapine dose (OR: 1.17; 95% CI: 1.08-1.27; P = 0.0001). Of the 25 chemotherapy blocks where ALT and/or AST were reported more than once, grade 1-3 elevations were observed in five. The mean weight change in 31 children who received olanzapine during more than one chemotherapy block was 0% (range: -22 to +18).

Conclusion: Olanzapine may be an important option to improve CIV control in children. Prospective controlled evaluation of olanzapine for CINV prophylaxis in children is warranted.

Keywords: chemotherapy-induced vomiting; olanzapine; pediatric; supportive care.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Antiemetics / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Antineoplastic Agents* / adverse effects
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Olanzapine
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Vomiting* / chemically induced
  • Vomiting* / drug therapy


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Olanzapine