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- Ondansetron (Zofran) vs. meclizine: What's the difference?
- What are ondansetron and meclizine?
- What are the side effects of ondansetron and meclizine?
- What is the dosage of ondansetron vs. meclizine?
- What drugs interact with ondansetron and meclizine?
- Are ondansetron and meclizine safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Ondansetron (Zofran) vs. meclizine: What's the difference?
- Ondansetron and meclizine are used to prevent nausea and vomiting.
- Ondansetron is mainly used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy and to prevent vomiting and nausea after surgery.
- Meclizine is also used to treat and prevent vertigo, dizziness, and motion sickness.
- Brand names for ondansetron include Zofran, Zofran ODT, and Zuplenz.
- Brand names for meclizine include Bonine, Medi-Meclizine, and Verticalm.
- Ondansetron and meclizine belong to different drug classes. Ondansetron is an anti-nausea medication and meclizine is an antihistamine with antiemetic (anti-nausea) and antispasmodic (anti-muscle spasm) activity.
- Side effects of ondansetron and meclizine that are similar include drowsiness, constipation, diarrhea, and abnormal heart rate.
- Side effects of ondansetron that are different from meclizine include headache, feeling unwell (malaise), fatigue, dizziness, and abnormal heart rhythm.
- Side effects of meclizine that are different from ondansetron include nausea, dry mouth, blurred vision, rash, urinary retention, and low blood pressure (hypotension).
What are ondansetron and meclizine?
Ondansetron is an anti-nausea medication most often used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Chemotherapy drugs increase secretion of serotonin that 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. Ondansetron is also used to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery.
Meclizine is an antihistamine with antiemetic (anti-nausea) and antispasmodic (anti-muscle spasm) activity used to treat and prevent vertigo, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and motion sickness. It also suppresses the nervous system by blocking the action of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Meclizine prevents nausea and vomiting by reducing the activity of the center in the brain that controls nausea. It also prevents motion sickness by reducing excitability of neurons in the motion and balance center (vestibular region) of the brain.
What are the side effects of ondansetron and meclizine?
Side effects of ondansetron are
Some individuals may develop abnormal heart rate and rhythm.
Meclizine can cause drowsiness. Other side effects include:
- dry mouth,
- blurred vision,
- diarrhea and
- urinary retention (inability or difficulty urinating).
What is the dosage of ondansetron vs. meclizine?
Dosage for adults:
- Highly nauseating chemotherapy: 24 mg orally dissolved on tongue 30 minutes prior to start of a single-day chemotherapy.
- Moderately nauseating chemotherapy: Take 8 mg tablet 30 minutes prior to chemotherapy and repeat 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.
Dosage for children:
- Moderately nauseating chemotherapy (12 years and older): 8 mg orally prior to chemotherapy and repeat 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 minutes prior to chemotherapy and repeat 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.
When used for treating symptoms of motion sickness, meclizine 12.5-50 mg should be taken one hour prior to travel and then every 24 hours for the duration of the journey. The dosing should not exceed 50 mg in 24 hours. Vertigo is treated with 25-100 mg daily in a single dose or in 4 divided doses.
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What drugs interact with ondansetron and meclizine?
Dronedarone can increase blood levels of ondansetron by reducing its breakdown in the liver. This may increase side effects of ondansetron. This combination may also increase the risk of abnormal heartbeats.
Are ondansetron and meclizine safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding?
Available information suggests that the risk of harm to the baby is minimal when meclizine is used while breastfeeding.
Ondansetron and meclizine are used to prevent nausea and vomiting. Ondansetron is mainly used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy and after surgery. Meclizine is used to treat and prevent vertigo, dizziness, and motion sickness.
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Related Disease Conditions
Cancer is a disease caused by an abnormal growth of cells, also called malignancy. It is a group of 100 different diseases, and is not contagious. Cancer can be treated through chemotherapy, a treatment of drugs that destroy cancer cells.
What Can Trigger Vertigo?
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning or rocking, even when someone is at rest. Vertigo may be caused by a problem in the brain or spinal cord or a problem within in the inner ear. Head injuries, certain medications, and female gender are associated with a higher risk of vertigo. Medical history, a physical exam, and sometimes an MRI or CT scan are required to diagnose vertigo. The treatment of vertigo may include medication, special exercises to reposition loose crystals in the inner ear, or exercises designed to help the patient re-establish a sense of equilibrium. Controlling risk factors for stroke (blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, and blood glucose) may decrease the risk of developing vertigo.
Dizziness is a symptom that often applies to a variety of sensations including lightheadedness and vertigo. Causes of dizziness include low blood pressure, heart problems, anemia, dehydration, and other medical conditions. Treatment of dizziness depends on the cause.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life-threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers. Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
Motion sickness is a feeling of unwellness caused by the inner ear and balance systems. Motion sickness can include sea sickness, car sickness, and train or plane sickness. Symptoms include, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, cold sweats, and pale skin. Treatment for motion sickness includes home remedies such as ginger, avoiding large or fatty meals prior to traveling, and OTC and prescription medications.
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