Drug Class Series: Antiemetics
Andrea Hartley, CPhT
Pharmacy Technician/Central Supply Manager
The GRAND of Dublin
Continuing the series of articles featuring common drug classes, this article is about antiemetics, or medications that treat or prevent nausea and vomiting. The nausea and vomiting can be from any cause, including motion sickness, illness, drug side effects, and chemotherapy reactions.
Below I list some of the more common antiemetic medications and the most notable information about them.
dimenhydrinate (Dramamine); usually used for motion sickness; available OTC as an oral tablet and a prescription injection.
diphenhydramine (Benadryl); usually used for motion sickness, also commonly used as an antihistamine in preventing and treating allergic reactions as well as itching; available OTC as a tablet, capsule and liquid to be taken by mouth and as a prescription injection.
meclizine (Bonine); usually used for motion sickness and vertigo, also an antihistamine; available as OTC and prescription tablets.
promethazine (Phenergan); available in an oral tablet OTC and as a prescription in the form of a rectal suppository and injection. Also an antihistamine used for minor allergies and used to relax patients in a clinical setting.
metoclopramide (Reglan); available in a regular and disintegrating oral tablet, liquid and injection; also used to treat gastroparesis and esophageal problems and usually used for nausea caused by these problems; available as prescription only.
ondansetron (Zofran);available as a regular oral tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet, an oral liquid and an injection; frequently used in pregnancy to treat nausea and nausea caused by radiation and chemotherapy treatment; available as prescription only.
prochlorperazine (Compazine); technically an anti-psychotic but it is frequently used as an antiemetic. It’s available as an oral tablet, rectal suppository and an injection and is prescription only.
scopolamine (Transderm Scop patch); used to prevent motion sickness, it’s available as a prescription only patch that’s worn behind the ear for three days at a time.
chlorpromazine; another one that’s technically an anti-psychotic but it is frequently used as an antiemetic. It’s available as an oral tablet and injection and is prescription only.
Trimethobenzamide (Tigan); available as an oral capsule and an intramuscular injection.
I hoped this gave you a little information about these common drugs. Next time I will be giving you information about a relatively new class of drugs: antivirals.