Drugs Home > Phenergan for Nausea

Phenergan (promethazine) is commonly used for treating nausea and vomiting. Specifically, healthcare providers often prescribe Phenergan for nausea and vomiting associated with surgery and certain types of anesthesia. A rectal suppository form is available for people with severe nausea and/or vomiting. In the hospital setting, an IV form of the medication may also be given.

Using Phenergan for Nausea

Phenergan® (promethazine hydrochloride) is a prescription medication commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting, although it is approved for other uses as well. In particular, the drug is approved to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting associated with surgery and certain types of anesthesia. It is also approved to treat and prevent motion sickness.
Interestingly, Phenergan is not approved for nausea or vomiting due to other causes or in other situations, although it is frequently given for such uses.

How Does Phenergan Relieve Nausea?

Phenergan has several different effects in the body and the brain. Many of the medication's effects are most likely due to its antihistamine activity. It works by blocking histamine receptors.
Phenergan also belongs to a group of medications known as phenothiazines. Although phenothiazines are usually used as antipsychotic medications, Phenergan has little dopamine-blocking activity. This makes it a weak antipsychotic medication, and it is not used as an antipsychotic.
This medicine also blocks acetylcholine receptors, which is probably why Phenergan helps to alleviate nausea and motion sickness.

Treating Nausea in Children With Phenergan

Medications for vomiting and nausea, like Phenergan, should not be used to treat most cases of vomiting in children and adolescents. In these age groups, only prolonged cases of vomiting with clear, known causes should be treated with this medication.
In addition, Phenergan should not be given to children under the age of two, due to the risk of breathing difficulty and death (see Phenergan and Children).
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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