Drugs Home > What Is Granisetron Used For?

Granisetron is used for preventing nausea and vomiting in people who are about to receive radiation or chemotherapy. The drug usually comes as tablets, but an injectable form is available for preventing nausea and vomiting caused by surgery or chemotherapy. The medicine can also be prescribed "off-label" to prevent nausea and vomiting due to other causes. There are currently no approved granisetron uses in children.

Granisetron Uses: An Overview

Granisetron hydrochloride (Kytril®) is a prescription medication approved for the prevention of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy or radiation. An injectable form of granisetron is also available and is used to prevent nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy or surgery.

Granisetron for Nausea and Vomiting After Radiation or Chemotherapy

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of chemotherapy and radiation (see Chemotherapy and Nausea). Nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy or radiation are likely due to many causes. Some types of chemotherapy or radiation are more likely to cause nausea and vomiting than others. Radiation to the entire body (known as total body irradiation) and radiation to the abdomen are very likely to cause nausea and vomiting.
In general, granisetron is better at preventing vomiting than preventing nausea. It is also much easier to prevent nausea and vomiting than to treat it once it starts. Granisetron is licensed to prevent nausea and vomiting, but it is not a treatment for vomiting or nausea.

How Does Granisetron Work?

Nausea 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 granisetron works in the small intestine, but it may also work in the brain.
Granisetron 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 has several receptors where it can bind. Granisetron 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.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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