Nausea (upset stomach) and vomiting are complex processes involving many chemicals in the body and several parts of the body, including the brain and the small intestine. It is likely that palonosetron works in the small intestine, but it may also work in the brain.
The medication works by blocking serotonin, a chemical produced by the body that is associated with nausea and vomiting. Serotonin has many effects in the body and can bind to several different types of receptors. Palonosetron blocks serotonin at a specific type of receptor (the 5-HT3 receptor), which is important for nausea and vomiting. It has no effects on other types of serotonin receptors in the body.
The injectable version of palonosetron lasts longer than most other nausea and vomiting medications. This helps to prevent the immediate nausea that can occur within the first day of chemotherapy, as well as nausea and vomiting that can occur in the next few days (known as "delayed" nausea and vomiting). It is not clear if the capsule version lasts equally as long.
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