Use of olanzapine for the relief of nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer: a multicenter survey in Japan

Support Care Cancer. 2016 Jun;24(6):2393-5. doi: 10.1007/s00520-016-3101-x. Epub 2016 Feb 2.


Nausea and vomiting are among the most common and distressing symptoms in patients with advanced cancer. Olanzapine, an antipsychotic agent, is known to have an affinity for multiple neurotransmitter receptors. Previous studies have reported olanzapine to be efficacious in the treatment of nausea and vomiting. Although it has been administered at a number of facilities, its applicability to treat nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer is poorly understood. We investigated the use of olanzapine for nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer at multiple centers. This retrospective study was carried out at seven palliative care units and three facilities with palliative care teams in Japan from 2013 to 2015. The dosage of olanzapine, treatment duration, and duration from initial use until death were collected from the medical records. One hundred and eight patients met our inclusion criteria. The average dose of olanzapine was 3.6 mg (2.5 mg, n = 61; 5 mg, n = 46; 10 mg, n = 1) and average treatment duration was 18.7 days. The average duration from initial use until death was 39.0 days. There were no differences in the duration of administration until death between olanzapine doses (2.5 and 5 mg). Our results suggest that olanzapine have been used in patients with poor prognoses for nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer. Conducting a prospective trial would further yield promising results.

Keywords: Cancer; Nausea; Olanzapine; Palliative care; Vomiting.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antiemetics / administration & dosage*
  • Antineoplastic Agents / adverse effects
  • Antipsychotic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Benzodiazepines / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nausea / drug therapy*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Olanzapine
  • Palliative Care / methods
  • Patient Comfort
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vomiting / drug therapy*


  • Antiemetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Olanzapine