Original Report

Comparison of antiemetic efficacy and safety of palonosetron vs ondansetron in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in children


Background Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) in children is a major side effect despite the use of combination antiemetic drugs.

Objective To compare the efficacy and safety profile of palonosetron, a second-generation 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonist, with ondansetron in the prevention of CINV in children.

Methods A prospective, randomized, crossover study was conducted in patients aged 2-18 years. 160 chemotherapy cycles, consisting of chemotherapy drugs with moderate- and high-emetogenic potential, were studied. The study group received a single dose of intravenous (IV) palonosetron 5 mcg/kg, and the standard group received IV ondansetron 5 mg/m2 every 8 hours while receiving chemotherapy. The patients were observed for vomiting, use of rescue antiemetic medications, and nausea from Day 1 0-72 hours after completion of each chemotherapy cycle. All adverse events during the study period were recorded.

Results The overall percentage of patients with complete response (CR) in the palonosetron and ondansetron groups were 60% and 56.2%, respectively (P = .631). The CR rates in the palonosetron and ondansetron groups were 75% and 70%, respectively, in the acute phase (P = .479), and 68.8% and 65%, respectively, in the delayed phase (P = .614). There was no statistically significant difference in the CR rates cross both groups.

Conclusion A single dose of palonosetron is noninferior to ondansetron in the prevention of CINV in children and can be considered as an alternative antiemetic drug. There was no significant difference in adverse effects between the palonosetron and ondansetron group.

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