Sold under the trade name Anzemet, Dolasetron is an oral tablet that doctors prescribe to patients undergoing cancer treatment with radiation and/or chemotherapy. These patients often have symptoms of nausea which lead to vomiting and a general feeling of illness. Medications such as Dolasetron can offer some relief to these conditions, enabling the patient to take nourishment on a more normal basis, which helps their bodies continue to undergo treatment.
Dolasetron is effective because it stops certain chemicals in the body that cause vomiting, nausea and general malaise. Typically given one hour prior to chemotherapy treatment in some patients, Dolasetron specifically works on serotonin 5-HT3, which triggers stomach upset, throwing up and other ill feelings in the body. Dolasetron is available in several milligram dose sizes in tablet form and also as an injection.
The main effect of Dolasetron, however, ultimately comes down to the nerve in the brain that triggers the vomiting activity. Through the serotonin blocking, this nerve is calmed and nausea is abated.
Nausea is a sick feeling that happens to many cancer patients and can lead to vomiting, dizziness, feeling faint or having too fast of a heart rhythm. Studies have shown that vomiting and nausea are caused in a certain portion of the brain that is triggered by use of chemotherapy drugs. Areas of the stomach, intestines and esophagus may also be triggered by chemo. Blocking this portion of the brain with drugs such as Dolasetron stops this trigger from happening, easing these symptoms, which are two of the most common, most dreaded symptoms that cancer patients face.
Treating nausea and vomiting with drugs such as Dolasetron enables the patient to get proper nutrition into their bodies and also prevents dehydration from occurring. If patients cannot keep down fluids or take the medications they need, it directly affects the success of their treatment. Dolasetron prevents and calms the nausea experienced so frequently during treatment.
Though Dolasetron is tolerated well by the body, there are some instances of unwanted symptoms and effects reported by certain patients. If the following ill feelings occur while you are taking Dolasetron, notify your physician right away:
Other patients have been known to experience mild, non-distressing side effects that stopped happening after an adjustment period. There are methods for patients to use in order to lessen these side effects or stop them completely. Your physician or your cancer treatment team will be able to advise you on how to deal with unwanted symptoms such as:
Side effects other than those mentioned may also happen in some patients. Report any unusual health matters to your cancer care team right away.
Take Dolasetron exactly as prescribed by your health care provider, without altering the size or frequency of dosage. Patients who have difficulty swallowing tablets, such as children, can have this drug in a liquid form to be mixed with fruit juice.
Each patient is different and therefore your prescribed dosage may differ from the information provided here. Do not change what your physician has prescribed for you unless specifically advised to do so. In general, for the prevention of vomiting and nausea after chemotherapy, adults are prescribed 100 milligrams to be taken at least one hour prior to treatment. Children who are age two to sixteen will have a dose prescribed based on their body specifications. Typically this age group receives a dose of 1.8 milligrams per kilogram of body weight as a dose prior to treatment, not exceeding 100 milligrams. Children and infants under two years old may or may not be appropriate patients to be assisted by Dolasetron and use of this drug is up to their physician.
Missing a dose of Dolasetron should not cause you to double your doses, instead take your next dose and skip the one you missed in favor of taking too much. However, feeling ill or vomiting should prompt you to take the missed dose as soon as you are able to do so.
If, in the past, you have experience reactions to a medication, food or even artificial dyes or preservatives, you should let your physician know as this could indicate a risk of allergy to Dolasetron as well. If you are on other medications, you should also disclose their details to your cancer treatment team, being sure to include over-the-counter, herbal and vitamin therapies as well.
Dolasetron has been known to react adversely with the following drugs. If you are taking any of these drugs, make them known to your doctor before taking Dolasetron:
Though not a typically recommended combination therapy, the following drugs are to be used with caution while taking Dolasetron. Your doctor will want to know prior to your prescribed dose if you are taking:
Dolasetron may or may not be taken with food; your doctor will advise you on whether to do so in your prescription information. Additionally, use of tobacco products, alcoholic beverages and certain specific foods may interact with this medication in an unwanted, unexpected way. Read all patient information supplied with your prescription including the leaflet given to you by your cancer treatment team.
Some pre-existing medical conditions can also limit the effectiveness or cause a high risk situation for unwanted side effects. Use of Dolasetron may also make certain illnesses worse, depending on what they are. For this reason, it is advised that you disclose your full medical history to your cancer treatment specialist physician before being given a dose of Dolasetron. Your doctor will specifically want to know if you suffer from the following conditions currently or have in the past had:
Medical studies on pediatric patients less than two years old have not been performed to provide data on the safety or effectiveness of Dolasetron in this age group. Use in children under two is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Similarly, elderly patients have not been studied specifically for tolerance of Dolasetron, but it is known that this age group demonstrates a higher risk of heart problems. Therefore elderly patients who are being considered for Dolasetron therapy should be monitored closely if they have pre-existing heart problems involving the rhythm of the heart.
Pregnant women have not been studied to determine if Dolasetron is safe for them to take with regard to fetal risk. Additionally, breastfeeding has not been a topic of study for safety of the nursing child. For these reasons, prior to being given a dosage of Dolasetron, women who are pregnant or who may become pregnant should be counseled by their medical team as to the risk their unborn baby may be under with use of this drug. Breastfeeding women may be advised to stop prior to use of Dolasetron, depending on their medical condition.
Allergic reaction symptoms that have occurred in your past with use of other drugs, dyes, perfumes, preservatives or foods should be communicated to your physician in case of a possible risk with prescribed therapy treatments including Dolasetron.
Pre-existing medical conditions such as long QT syndrome, other heart rhythm problems or conditions or low levels of potassium or magnesium in your blood should be made known to your cancer treatment staff prior to use of Dolasetron to avoid any complications from this drug. Patients with kidney disease are also advised to communicate this to their team of medical professionals prior to use of this medication.
Dolasetron has been known to cause QT prolongation symptoms that require urgent medical care. Irregularities in the rhythm of your heart such as pounding or dizziness and feeling faint should be reported at once. Seek urgent assistance if you have pain in your chest, abdomen or side.
Use of water pills may cause your levels of potassium and magnesium, two substances naturally found in the normal blood stream, to be low. Low levels of these substances increase your risk of QT prolongation syndrome with use of Dolasetron and should be corrected prior to use of this medication.
Keep your prescribed amount of Dolasetron in the original packaging at room temperature, well away from light, moisture or heat exposure. Dolasetron, as with all other drugs, should be kept out of sight and reach of children and pets. If you have expired Dolasetron or unused doses of this medication, consult with your doctor or pharmacist on the safest way to dispose of this drug. Never share this medication with other people even if they have the same condition as you.
Dolasetron is a prescribed anti-nausea medication that is typically used by cancer patients and those who have just had surgery to prevent vomiting and the associated ill feeling caused by chemotherapy and other treatments. Working to block the level of an enzyme found in the body called serotonin 5HT3, which stimulates the nerve in the brain that causes vomiting and nausea, Dolasetron is considered to be a receptor antagonist medication. Dolasetron is sold under the trade name Anzemet, which patients may be more familiar with.
Know to have side effects ranging from reactions that are considered to be allergic to mood alterations, muscle and joint reactions and headaches, patients who are being treated with Dolasetron are urged to notify their physician if they experience any severe or prolonged unwanted effects of this drug. Patients should disclose their full medical histories including any prescription, over-the-counter, herbal or vitamin supplements they take for any reason. Dolasetron may interact with many other drugs in a negative way. Check the leaflet provided to you with your treatment information prior to taking Dolasetron.
Dolasetron has been known to affect the rhythm of the heart and, for this reason, it is urged that patients who have heart rhythm irregularities communicate these conditions to their health care provider prior to being given a prescription dose of Dolasetron. This condition is also at a higher risk in patients who have abnormally low levels of magnesium and potassium in their blood. A blood test prior to treatment with Dolasetron should be given so that these levels can be corrected prior to use of this drug.
Store Dolasetron safely, in the original packaging and not exposed to extreme temperatures, lighting or moisture. Keep this medication and others out of sight and reach of children and pets. Dispose of unused doses of this medication safely according to the instructions given to you by your doctor or pharmacist. Do not share this or any other drug with other people, even if they have the same condition as you.