Ondansetron is a medicine which prevents your child feeling sick (nausea) and being sick (vomiting). This type of drug is called an anti-emetic.
It is used mainly for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy or radiotherapy. It is also used for nausea and vomiting after an operation or caused by some pain-killing medicines.
How is ondansetron given?
It may be given by mouth in the form of a tablet, melt or a syrup.
It may also be given as an injection into a vein (intravenously or IV), through a cannula, central venous catheter, implantable port or PICC line.
It may be given every eight to 12 hours and can be combined with other drugs which prevent sickness.
If it is being given after an operation or while our child is having pain-killing medicines, it will usually be given just while your child is in hospital. If it is being given for sickness caused by chemotherapy, it should be started before the first dose of chemotherapy and continued for up to two days after the end of chemotherapy. If your child is still feeling sick after this time, tell your doctor as other anti-sickness medicines may be more effective at this point.
What are the side effects of ondansetron?
Your child may complain or talk about sensations of warmth or feeling flushed, particularly in the head or over the stomach.
Some children find that ondansetron gives them headaches. Tell your doctor if your child complains of headaches while having treatment with ondansetron.
Your child may become constipated. This can generally be helped by drinking lots of fluids and eating a high fibre diet. Sometimes the doctor may prescribe medicines to stimulate your child’s bowel function.
Ondansetron and interactions with other medicines
Some medicines can react with ondansetron, altering how well it works. Always check with your doctor or pharmacist before giving your child any other medicine, including medicines on prescription from your family doctor (GP), medicines bought from a pharmacy (chemist) or any herbal or complementary medicines.
Important information you should know about ondansetron
- Keep all medicines and tablets in a safe place where children cannot reach them.
- Store this medicine in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight or heat.
- Ondansetron should be taken as directed by your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
- If your child vomits after taking the dose, inform the doctor or nurse as your child may need to take another dose. Do not give your child another dose without first informing your doctor.
- If you forget to give your child their dose, do not give them a double dose. Inform your doctor or nurse and keep to your child’s regular dose schedule.
- If your doctor decides to stop treatment, return any unused tablets or medicine to the pharmacist. Do not flush or throw them away.
Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: July 2010
Ref: 2010F0490 © GOSH Trust July 2010
Please read this information in conjunction with any patient information leaflet provided by the manufacturer. However, please note that this information explains about the use of medicines in children and young people so may differ from the manufacturer’s information.
Each person reacts differently to medicines so your child will not necessarily suffer every side effect mentioned. This information does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.