Ondansetron was first developed at the Glaxo Laboratories, London, in 1984. It is an antagonist of the serotonin-5HT3 receptor. Serotonin is the hormone that causes vomiting and nausea. The basic function of this medicine in the human body is to block the secretion of serotonin. It is generally administered to patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy. But, this medicine can have some serious side effects on the patient.
This medicine is administered to patients who are about to undergo chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or a surgery. The medicine is administered before these various therapies, because it is relatively easy to prevent nausea and vomiting before it starts, rather than treating it once it has started. It is, thus, a preventive drug. Generally, it has been observed that it has a better capability to prevent vomiting rather than nausea. The difference between nausea and vomiting is that in the former you have a strange feeling in your stomach and you feel like throwing up, while in the latter you actually throw up. Hence, ondansetron is often prescribed in conjunction with some other medicine to prevent nausea and vomiting.
The medical history of the patient is taken into account before administering this medicine. Though not practiced widely, medical practitioners prescribe this medicine to treat alcoholism. It is also prescribed to women during pregnancy, to prevent nausea and emesis. Studies shows that, the effect of this drug is specifically on the central nervous system.
There are certain short-lived side effects that are observed in patients who take this medication; they include constipation, weakness, dizziness, lightheadedness, and headache. Serious side effects are breathing problems, slow heart rate, anxiety, shivering, and fever. In case of any of these side effects, medical help should be sought immediately. This medicine should be taken according to the prescription, as an overdose can cause serious side effects.
There are various instances where patients who have taken an overdose of this medicine have suffered from temporary blindness. In some cases, the thinking capability of the patient may get affected because of an overdose. Hence, it is advised not to drive or do any such activity that requires mental alertness. Patient with a medical history of long QT syndrome (disorder of the heart's electrical activity) or liver problems may have an adverse reaction after taking this medicine. Hence, it is always advisable to contact your medical health professional in case of any side effects after the consumption of this drug.
The side effects can get worse if the patient is allergic to the medicine. It is thus very important to inform your healthcare professional about your medical history before consuming this drug. The drug is also not suitable for people who are allergic to palonosetron, dolasetron, or granisetron.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.