Meds and you

Updated 11 February 2013

Granisetron

Granisetron is an anti-emetic medication, a drug that prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting. It is prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by anticancer medicines.

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Granisetron is the active ingredient of Kytril.

General Information

Granisetron is an anti-emetic medication, a drug that prevents or alleviates nausea and vomiting. It is prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by anticancer medicines such as those used for chemotherapy. Granisetron can also be used to prevent these symptoms following surgery and radiation. It does not have much effect on vomiting caused by motion sickness, however.

These drugs are very expensive and it is hypothesised that they are not superior to other drug combinations for the same condition.

How does granisetron work?

Although the exact mechanism of how granisetron works is unclear, it is thought that chemotherapeutic agents and radiation may cause release of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the small intestine. Granisetron blocks its effect on serotonin receptors in the small intestines and brain where it is thought to trigger nausea and vomiting.

Fast facts

Drug schedule: Schedule 4

Available as: Granisetron is available as injection and tablets.

What does it do? Granisetron has an anti-nausea effect.

Overdose risk: Low

Dependence risk: Low

Is granisetron available as a generic? No

Is granisetron available on prescription only? Yes

User information

Onset of effect: Within 1 hour

Duration of action: Up to 12 hours

Stopping this medicine: Granisetron can be safely discontinued when no longer needed.

Prolonged use: This drug is generally prescribed for short-term use only.

Special precautions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if:

  • You have kidney or liver disease
  • You are taking other medication.

Pregnancy: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your baby. Consult your doctor before using this drug, or if you are planning to fall pregnant

Breastfeeding: Avoid. This medication is passed through breast milk and may affect your baby adversely. Consult your doctor before use.

Porphyria: Avoid. It is unknown how this medication may affect your condition. Consult your doctor before use.

Infants and children: This medication is not intended for use in children and should only be prescribed by a paediatrician.

Elderly: No special precautions need to be taken.

Driving and hazardous work: No special precautions need to be taken.

Alcohol: No special precautions need to be taken.

Possible side effects

Interactions

Side effect

Frequency

Consult your doctor

Common

Rare

Only if severe

In all cases

Headache

x

Flushing

x

x

Diarrhoea/constipation

x

x

Skin rash

x

x

Blurred vision

x

x

Palpitations

x

x

Convulsions

x

x

Interactions:

Drug interactions:

No serious drug interactions are known.

Disease interactions

Consult your doctor before using this drug if you have kidney or liver disease.

Overdose action

A small overdose is no cause for concern. In case of intentional large overdose, seek emergency medical attention.

Recommended dosage

Adults: A maximum dose of 9 mg over a 24 hour period can be given in divided doses.

Interesting fact

Granisetron may be effective in treating cyclical vomiting syndrome, a condition where s ufferers may vomit as often as twelve times an hour during such an episode. An episode may last from a few hours to well over 2 or 3 weeks.

 

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