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Prevention of Dimethylsulfoxide-Related Nausea and Vomiting by Prophylactic Administration of Ondansetron for Patients Receiving Autologous Cryopreserved Peripheral Blood Stem Cells

Seth Eisenberg
Mihkaila Wickline
Michael Linenberger
Ted Gooley
Leona Holmberg
ONF 2013, 40(3), 285-292 DOI: 10.1188/13.ONF.285-292

Purpose/Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of ondansetron for the prevention of nausea and vomiting from dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) during autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT) infusion.

Design: Nonrandomized cohort using historical control.

Setting: Comprehensive cancer center outpatient infusion department.

Sample: 50 patients receiving ASCT in the outpatient setting.

Methods: Patients were assessed for nausea and vomiting on their infusion day using the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer Antiemesis Tool (MAT) at arrival, pre-ASCT infusion, pre-ondansetron administration, prior to the first bag, and after each bag of stem cells. A standard script was used to ensure consistency. Ondansetron, 16 mg IV, was administered 30-90 minutes prior to each ASCT infusion. Number and volume of stem cells bags, as well as infusion rate and emesis episodes, were recorded. Nausea scores and vomiting episodes were compared to historical data.

Main Research Variables: Subjectivity of nausea, potential Hawthorne Effect.

Findings: Forty-five percent of patients had an MAT score greater than 2 on arrival, decreasing to 18% after receiving ondansetron before the first bag. Twenty-four percent had MAT increases of more than two points by infusion end compared to 58% in the historic control group. Eighteen percent of patients vomited compared to 28% of historic controls.

Conclusions: The administration of 16 mg of IV ondansetron significantly reduced DMSO-related nausea and episodes of vomiting in patients receiving ASCT.

Implications for Nursing: Prophylactic administration of ondansetron had a positive effect on reducing nausea symptoms and episodes of vomiting during ASCT infusions. These results prompted a change in clinical practice. More research is required to determine whether the inclusion of other antiemetic agents would provide even greater benefit.

Knowledge Translation: To date, no other published studies have explored the benefits of premedicating patients with ondansetron prior to ASCT infusions. This study is the first to establish efficacy of ondansetron for an unlabeled indication. These results may pave the way for future research in decreasing nausea and vomiting in this setting.

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