Ondansetron for postoperative nausea and vomiting

Ira Todd Cohen

Postoperative nausea and vomiting, both early onset and delayed, continues to be a major concern of patients and practitioners. Postoperative nausea and vomiting is recognized as a debilitating and potentially dangerous occurrence during the recovery period. Extensive studies of the serotonin subtype 5-hydroxytryptamine3 receptor antagonist ondansetron have demonstrated efficacy and safety in all age groups. Ondansetron has been shown to be most effective in preventing early postoperative vomiting in high-risk populations. Nausea and delayed postoperative nausea and vomiting are more effectively treated by combination therapies. Further understanding of patient-to-patient variability in the metabolism of ondansetron and the interaction of the different receptors in the nausea–vomiting neuroendocrine pathway may eventually greatly decrease the incidence of postoperative nausea and vomiting.