What Is Ondansetron Used For?
What is ondansetron used for? Healthcare providers may prescribe ondansetron to people who may have nausea and vomiting after undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or surgery. Ondansetron is designed to prevent nausea and vomiting from occurring, rather than treating it once it has begun. Ondansetron does have some off-label uses, such as to help prevent morning sickness during pregnancy.
Ondansetron hydrochloride (Zofran®) is a prescription medicine that has been licensed for preventing nausea and vomiting due to several causes. Specific ondansetron uses include:
- Prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy (chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting)
- Prevention of nausea and vomiting caused by radiation therapy (radiation-induced nausea and vomiting)
- Prevention of nausea and vomiting caused by surgery (postoperative nausea and vomiting).
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy. Some types of chemotherapy are more likely to cause nausea and vomiting than others. Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy are likely due to many causes, one of which is the body's increased production of serotonin in the small intestine in response to chemotherapy.
The main symptoms of nausea are feeling sick to your stomach and feeling like you might vomit, while vomiting is actually "throwing up." In general, ondansetron is better at preventing vomiting than preventing nausea. Ondansetron works to prevent nausea and vomiting by blocking serotonin at certain receptors in the body. It is much easier to prevent nausea and vomiting than to treat it once it starts. Ondansetron is licensed to prevent nausea and vomiting, but it is not a treatment for vomiting or nausea.
Ondansetron is often used in conjunction with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. The nausea medicine chosen by your healthcare provider for this purpose will depend on several factors, including the type of chemotherapy and your previous experiences of nausea and vomiting with chemotherapy.