A second study being presented at the ASCO meeting in June found that the antipsychotic drug Zyprexa (olanzapine), used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, reduced post-chemotherapy nausea and vomiting among patients who had not responded to other therapies.
Eighty patients with chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting were randomized to receive either Zyprexa or the heartburn drug Reglan (metoclopramide), often used to treat nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.
Over the next three days, 71 percent of patients taking Zyprexa did not vomit, compared with 32 percent of patients receiving Reglan.
About two-thirds of patients on Zyprexa experienced no nausea, compared with only one-quarter of Reglan patients, the study found.
Zyprexa can cause side effects if used for six months or longer, but did not cause significant side effects for the short duration used in this study. Generally, those getting chemotherapy would not need to take Zyprexa for longer than three days.
The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more on chemotherapy.
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