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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 33  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 441-445

The role of neurokinin-1 (substance P) antagonists in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting


1 Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA
2 Department of Anesthesiology; Department of Pharmacology, Louisiana State University Health Science Center, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
3 Department of Biochemistry, Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME 04011, USA

Correspondence Address:
Richard D Urman
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Brigham and Womenfs Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0970-9185.222511

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Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) can be very debilitating for surgical patients, and effective management reduces potential morbidity, aiding in patient satisfaction, and minimizing the need for unintended hospital stays. Risk factors include female sex, nonsmoker, and having a previous history of motion sickness or PONV. Anesthetic risk factors include receiving opioids, not receiving a total intravenous anesthetic (TIVA), exposure to nitrous oxide, and extended length of anesthetic. Many treatments, including serotonin antagonists, dopamine antagonists, corticosteroids, inhaled isopropyl alcohol, and anticholinergics, as well as techniques such as TIVA, have been utilized over recent decades in an attempt to reduce PONV incidence. However, it remains a problem for a significant number of surgical patients. Aprepitant is a neurokinin-1 (substance P) antagonist, which exerts its effects via a final common pathway of the emetic centers after crossing the blood brain barrier. Aprepitant is commonly used in the cancer population to help prevent cancer chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and has shown great promise in both acute and delayed phase PONV. Published data has shown improved efficacy when compared with ondansetron administered prior to surgery. The use of aprepitant in combination with other antiemetics potentially may help decrease unplanned hospital admissions and potentially, reduce costs associated with PONV.


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