Managing Nausea and Vomiting


Nausea is feeling queasy or sick to your stomach, as though you’re going to throw up.  Vomiting is emptying your stomach by throwing up.  Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting can be acute (within the first 24 hours), delayed (vomiting that occurs after 24 hours), or anticipatory.


Cancer Treatments Likely to Cause Nausea and Vomiting


Certain chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause nausea and vomiting than others.  Chemotherapy drugs are classified as mildly, moderately or highly likely to cause nausea and vomiting.  Many chemotherapy treatment plans use more than one drug.  The amount of nausea and vomiting produced by combination chemotherapy is typically greater than the nausea expected from any single drug.


Preventing Nausea and Vomiting


The best way to treat nausea and vomiting is to prevent them from occurring.

Antiemetics work by blocking signals between the brain and the gut that causes nausea and vomiting. There are many different kinds of antiemetics; your doctor may have you try more than one before finding the prescription that works best for you.


Other actions to manage nausea and vomiting:

  • Try eating foods and drinking beverages that have been easier for you to take or have made you feel better when you had the flu, morning sickness, or were nauseated from stress. There might be bland foods, sour candy, pickles, dry crackers, ginger ale, flat soda, or others.  Eat small, frequent meals (5-6), instead of 3 large meals each day.
  • Do not eat fatty or fried foods, or very sweet foods.
  • If possible, have somebody else make the meals when you are nauseated.
  • Do not eat your favorite foods when you are nauseated.
  • If you have nausea and vomiting for only a few days after chemotherapy, cook and freeze several meals that you can reheat during times when you are nauseated.
  • Eat foods that are at room temperature or cold. The smells from hot foods may make your nausea worse.
  • Keep your mouth clean; brush at least twice a day.
  • Consider shakes or liquid nutritional supplements to help maintain your nutrition.


Antinauseants/Antiemetics (help prevent nausea and vomiting)

  • Emend (apprepitant) Tripack
  • Aloxi (palonosetron) IV
  • Anzemet (dolasetron)
  • Kytril (granisetron)
  • Zofran (ondansetron)
  • Compazine (prochloroperazine)
  • Reglan (metclopropamide)
  • Decadron (dexamethasone)
  • Ativan