ondansetron (Zofran, Zofran ODT, Zuplenz)

  • Pharmacy Author:
    Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD

    Dr. Ogbru received his Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy in 1995. He completed a Pharmacy Practice Residency at the University of Arizona/University Medical Center in 1996. He was a Professor of Pharmacy Practice and a Regional Clerkship Coordinator for the University of the Pacific School of Pharmacy from 1996-99.

  • Medical and Pharmacy Editor: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

GENERIC NAME: ondansetron

BRAND NAME: Zofran, Zofran ODT, Zuplenz

DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Ondansetron is an anti-nausea medication most often used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. Chemotherapy agents increase secretion of serotonin which stimulates serotonin (5-HT3) receptors in the brain, causing nausea and vomiting. Ondansetron works by selectively blocking serotonin (5-HT3) receptors, reducing the effect of increased serotonin due to chemotherapy. The FDA approved ondansetron in December 1992.

PRESCRIBED FOR: Ondansetron is used to prevent nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.

SIDE EFFECTS: Side effects of ondansetron are

Some individuals may develop abnormal heart rate and rhythm.

PRESCRIPTION: Yes

GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes

PREPARATIONS: Tablets (ODT): 4, 8 mg; Oral Film: 4, 8 mg; Tablet: 4, 8, 24 mg; Solution: 4 mg/5 ml. Injectable; 2 mg/ml

STORAGE: Store ondansetron between 2 C and 30 C (36 and 86 F).

DOSING:

Dosing for adults

  • Highly nauseating chemotherapy: 24 mg orally dissolved on tongue 30 minute prior to start of a single-day chemotherapy.
  • Moderately nauseating chemotherapy: Take 8 mg tablet 30 minute prior to chemotherapy and repeated in 8 hours, then 8 mg every 12 hours for 1 to 2 days after chemotherapy.
  • Radiation-induced nausea and vomiting: Take 8 mg orally 1 to 2 hours prior to radiation and every 8 hours after first dose, as needed.
  • Post-surgery nausea and vomiting: 16 mg orally 1 hour before anesthesia.

Dosing for children

  • Moderately nauseating chemotherapy (12 years and older) : 8 mg orally prior to chemotherapy and repeated in 8 hours, then 8 mg every 12 hours for 1 to 2 days after chemotherapy.
  • Moderately nauseating chemotherapy (4 to 11 years): 4 mg orally 30 minute prior to chemotherapy and repeated in 4 and 8 hours after the first dose, then every 8 hours for 1 to 2 days after chemotherapy.
  • Not recommended for children under 4 years old.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/21/2015

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