|Type of medicine||5HT3 antagonist anti-emetic|
|Used for||Prevention or treatment of sickness after chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery|
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery may all cause the release of a chemical called serotonin (5HT) in the digestive system and the brain. This serotonin acts on receptors called 5HT3 receptors which cause sickness and feelings of sickness. Ondansetron works by blocking these 5HT3 receptors and therefore stops you from feeling or being sick.
Before taking ondansetron
Before taking ondansetron make sure your doctor or pharmacist knows:
- If you are pregnant, trying for a baby or breast-feeding.
- If you have liver problems.
- If you have ever had heart problems such as an irregular heart beat.
- If you think you may have a blocked bowel.
- If you are taking other medicines, including those available to buy without a prescription, herbal or complementary medicines.
- If you have ever had an allergic reaction to this or to any other medicine.
How to take ondansetron
- Before taking ondansetron, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet.
- Take ondansetron exactly as your doctor has told you to. The way you have been told to take ondansetron will depend upon the reason you are taking it. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are unsure.
- If you have been prescribed ondansetron melt tablets, you should peel the foil backing off the blister pack rather than try to push the tablet through. Place the melt tablet on your tongue and allow it to dissolve before you swallow.
- If you forget to take a dose and feel sick, take it as soon as you remember and then take the next dose when it is due. If you forget to take a dose but do not feel sick, leave out the missed dose and take you next dose when it is due. Do not take two doses together to make up for a missed dose.
If you have been given ondansetron suppositories:
- Remove the wrapping from the suppository.
- You may find that inserting the suppository is easier if you squat or bend forward.
- Using your finger gently push the suppository into your rectum (back passage) as far as possible, pointed end first.
- Remain still for a little while to help you to hold the suppository in place.
- Wash your hands after use.
Getting the most from your treatment
- Ondansetron should start to work within 1 - 2 hours.
- If you are taking ondansetron tablets or syrup and you are sick within one hour of taking a dose, take the dose again.
Can ondansetron cause problems?
Along with their useful effects, all medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. These usually improve as your body adjusts to the new medicine, but speak with your doctor or pharmacist if any of the following side-effects continue or become troublesome.
|Common side-effects||What can I do if I experience this|
|Headache||Ask your pharmacist to recommend a suitable painkiller. If the headache continues, speak with your doctor|
|Constipation||Try to eat a well balanced diet containing plenty of fibre, and drink 6 - 8 glasses of water each day|
|Feeling of warmth, flushing||Wear light, cool clothes|
|Other less common side-effects include: hiccups, chest pain, uneven heart beats, dizziness especially when getting up from a lying or sitting position, and unusual body movements||If any of these become troublesome, speak with your doctor|
If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
How to store ondansetron
- Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
- Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.
Important information about all medicines
Further reading & references
- British National Formulary; 59th Edition (March 2010) British Medical Association and Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain, London.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Tablets 4 mg, 8 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Tablets 4 mg, 8 mg, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Melt 8 mg, 4 mg; Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Melt 8 mg, 4 mg, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Syrup; Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Syrup, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated October 2009.
- Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Suppositories; Manufacturer's PIL, Zofran® Suppositories, GlaxoSmithKline UK, electronic Medicines Compendium. Dated November 2009.
|Original Author: Helen Allen||Current Version: Helen Allen|
|Last Checked: 21/10/2010||Document ID: 1434 Version: 23||© EMIS|
Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.