Acute Management of Pediatric Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome: A Systematic Review

J Pediatr. 2019 Nov:214:158-164.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2019.06.057. Epub 2019 Sep 17.


Objectives: To synthesize quantitative and qualitative data on pharmacologic interventions of pediatric cyclic vomiting syndrome and their effectiveness in disease management in the acute care setting.

Study design: Using keywords, 799 studies published up from December 1954 to February 2018 were extracted from MEDLINE via Pubmed, Embase via OVID, CINAHL via EBSCO, and Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry. Studies were evaluated for inclusion and exclusion by 2 independent reviewers using predetermined inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Results: The search yielded 84 studies for full review, of which 54 were included in the systematic review. Studies were subsequently separated into 1 group of 6 case series studies containing quantitative data on sumatriptan, ondansetron, phenothiazines, prokinetic agents, carbohydrate, isometheptene, and aprepitant; 1 one group consisting only of qualitative studies containing expert recommendations.

Conclusions: Ondansetron has the most quantitative and qualitative evidence to support its inclusion in pediatric emergency department protocols as a rescue therapy. Sumatriptan and aprepitant are potential candidates for inclusion as abortive therapies. Qualitative data from retrospective studies and case reports are not applicable to a larger patient population. This report informs a need for controlled, prospective cohort studies and randomized, controlled trials to optimize current management protocols and to develop new medical interventions.

Keywords: cyclic vomiting; emesis; migraine; pediatric emergency; pharmacologic intervention.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Disease Management*
  • Humans
  • Vomiting / therapy*

Supplementary concepts

  • Familial cyclic vomiting syndrome