Robert J. Cersosimo, PharmD, BCOP


Palonosetron: A novel 5-HT3 receptor antagonist for chemotherapy-associated nausea and vomiting

July 01, 2003

Nausea and vomiting are among the serious complications of chemotherapy and can be associated with medical and psychological complications. Palonosetron (Aloxi, MGI Pharma/Helsinn) is a new agent in the class of serotonin type 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonists that have become a standard of care for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Palonosetron has a much longer half-life (~40 h) than typical 5-HT3 receptor antagonists and potentially improved efficacy in the prevention of delayed nausea and vomiting associated with moderately and highly emetogenic chemotherapy. Clinical trials of palonosetron in patients with cancer demonstrate its efficacy in the control of acute nausea and vomiting and its superiority to 2 agents in this class, dolasetron and ondansetron, in the control of delayed nausea and vomiting. Palonosetron is well-tolerated, with an adverse effect profile similar to other 5-HT3 antagonists. Its efficacy in the prevention of both acute and delayed nausea and vomiting makes palonosetron an attractive option for patients receiving chemotherapy. Further studies need to be conducted to determine the role of palonosetron among its competitors. (Formulary 2003;38:414?430.)