Nausea and vomiting medical therapy

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Vishnu Vardhan Serla M.B.B.S. [2]

Medical Therapy

  • Fluid resuscitation (due to vomiting-induced dehydration)
  • Treat underlying disease etiologies

Treatment of Nausea

While short-term nausea and vomiting are generally harmless, they may sometimes indicate a more serious condition, such as Coeliac disease. When associated with prolonged vomiting, it may lead to dehydration and/or dangerous electrolyte imbalances.

Symptomatic treatment for nausea and vomiting may include short-term avoidance of solid food. This is usually easy as nausea is nearly always associated with loss of appetite. Dehydration may require rehydration with oral or intravenous electrolyte solutions. If the cause is by motion sickness, sitting down in a still environment may also help.

There are several types of antiemetics, and researchers continue to look for more effective treatments. The main types used post operatively for surgical patients are ondansetron, dexamethasone, promethazine, diphenhydramine, and in small doses droperidol. Doxylamine is the drug of choice in pregnancy-related nausea. Anecdotally, another remedy used by recovery room nurses is to place an isopropyl alcohol swab under the patient's nose while he or she breathes through the nose. This may abate the nausea until the antiemetic medication takes effect. When ingested or inhaled, the chemical compound tetrahydrocannabinol has been shown to reduce nausea in some users.[1] Also available are a variety of non-invasive (often untested) mechanical devices used to suppress nausea due to motion sickness.

The spice ginger is also used for centuries as a folk remedy to treat nausea, and recent research has supported this use.[2]

Treatment of Vomiting

Acute Pharmacotherapies

  • Antiemetics: An antiemetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea. Antiemetics are typically used to treat motion sickness and the side effects of some opioid analgesics and chemotherapy directed against cancer. Antiemetics act by inhibiting the receptor sites associated with emesis. Hence, anticholinergics, antihistamines, dopamine antagonists, serotonin antagonists and cannabinoids are used as anti-emetics.
  • Anticholinergics

References

  1. Drug Policy Alliance (2001). "Medicinal Uses of Marijuana: Nausea, Emesis and Appetite Stimulation". Retrieved 2007-08-02.
  2. University of Maryland Medical Centre (2006). "Ginger". Retrieved 2007-08-02.

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