Music as an adjunct to antiemetic therapy

Oncol Nurs Forum. 1998 Oct;25(9):1551-6.


Purpose/objectives: To test whether use of music as a diversional intervention during high-dose chemotherapy administration would affect perception of nausea and episodes of vomiting.

Sample: 39 patients undergoing bone marrow transplant. A total of 33 patients were included in the data analysis, with 17 in the control group and 16 in the music intervention group.

Methods: Patients were assigned randomly to a control group (usual antiemetic protocol) or the experimental group (usual antiemetic group plus music intervention during the 48 hours of high-dose cyclophosphamide administered as part of the preparative regimen).

Main research variables: Use of a music intervention, perception of nausea, and instances of vomiting.

Findings: Significant differences were found between group scores on a visual analog scale for nausea and number of episodes of vomiting, demonstrating that the experimental group experienced less nausea and fewer instances of vomiting.

Conclusion: This study found that music is an effective adjunct to a pharmacologic antiemetic regimen for lessening nausea and vomiting, and this study merits further investigation through a larger multi-institutional effort.

Implications for nursing practice: Using music as a diversional adjunct intervention to antiemetic therapy is helpful in decreasing nausea and vomiting. The intervention can be initiated independently by nurses and individualized for each patient, leading to greater patient comfort and compliance with high-dose chemotherapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating / adverse effects*
  • Bone Marrow Transplantation
  • Cyclophosphamide / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Music Therapy / methods*
  • Nausea / chemically induced*
  • Nausea / therapy*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Vomiting / chemically induced*
  • Vomiting / therapy*


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Alkylating
  • Cyclophosphamide