Olanzapine may help control nausea, vomiting in patients with advanced cancer

May 07, 2020

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Olanzapine, a generic drug used to treat nervous, emotional and mental conditions, also may help patients with advanced cancer successfully manage nausea and vomiting unrelated to chemotherapy. These are the findings of a study published Thursday, May 7 in JAMA Oncology.

Charles Loprinzi, M.D., a Mayo Clinic medical oncologist, played a leadership role in this work in conjunction with Rudolph Navari, M.D., of The University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"It's well-appreciated by most people that patients receiving cancer chemotherapy suffer from nausea and vomiting," explains Dr. Loprinzi. "However, it's less well-appreciated that patients with advanced cancer also have significant problems with nausea and vomiting that are unrelated to chemotherapy."

Drs. Loprinzi and Navari found limited research regarding nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer unrelated to chemotherapy, so they decided to conduct a clinical trial.

The colleagues, along with other collaborators, conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial in 30 patients with advanced cancer who had not recently received chemotherapy or radiation therapy but did have substantial trouble with nausea and vomiting. Researchers randomly assigned patients to receive a low-dose of olanzapine or a placebo daily. Neither the trial participants nor their clinicians knew whether participants were receiving olanzapine or a placebo.

Prior to starting their medications on the first day of the study, participants rated their nausea over the previous 24 hours on a scale of 0-10, with 0 being none and 10 being as bad as it could be. Participants continued to rate their nausea every day at about the same time of day for the duration of the study.

When the study was unblinded, the research team learned that all 30 participants recorded nausea scores of 8-10 on the first day of the study. After one day and one week, nausea scores in the 15 patients who received a placebo were all still 8-10 out of 10. In contrast, the 15 patients who received olanzapine had scores of 2-3 out of 10 after one day and 0-3 out of 10 after one week. Correspondingly, these patients reported less vomiting, better appetite and better well-being. No patient-reported adverse events were observed among trial participants receiving olanzapine.

"Olanzapine given at 5 milligrams per day for seven days markedly improved patient quality of life with no side effects," says Dr. Navari. "And as a generic drug, it's also relatively affordable, with a one-month supply often costing anywhere from $10 to $15."

"Current guidelines for the management of nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer have not specifically indicated that one drug looks substantially better than a variety of other drugs," says Dr. Loprinzi. "However, we believe the present results may be viewed as a best practice for treating nausea and vomiting in patients with advanced cancer-associated nausea and vomiting."
About Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

Media contact:

Kevin Punsky, Mayo Clinic Public Affairs, 507-284-5005, newsbureau@mayo.edu

Mayo Clinic

Related Chemotherapy Articles from Brightsurf:

Chemotherapy is used to treat less than 25% of people with localized sarcoma
UCLA researchers have found that chemotherapy is not commonly used when treating adults with localized sarcoma, a rare type of cancer of the soft tissues or bone.

Starved cancer cells became more sensitive to chemotherapy
By preventing sugar uptake, researchers succeeded in increasing the cancer cells' sensitivity to chemotherapeutic treatment.

Vitamin D could help mitigate chemotherapy side effects
New findings by University of South Australia researchers reveal that Vitamin D could potentially mitigate chemotherapy-induced gastrointestinal mucositis and provide relief to cancer patients.

Less chemotherapy may have more benefit in rectal cancer
GI Cancers Symposium: Colorado study of 48 patients with locally advanced rectal cancer receiving neoadjuvant chemotherapy, found that patients receiving lower-than-recommended doses in fact saw their tumors shrink more than patients receiving the full dose.

Male fertility after chemotherapy: New questions raised
Professor Delb├Ęs, who specializes in reproductive toxicology, conducted a pilot study in collaboration with oncologists and fertility specialists from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) on a cohort of 13 patients, all survivors of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma.

'Combo' nanoplatforms for chemotherapy
In a paper to be published in the forthcoming issue in NANO, researchers from Harbin Institute of Technology, China have systematically discussed the recent progresses, current challenges and future perspectives of smart graphene-based nanoplatforms for synergistic tumor therapy and bio-imaging.

Nanotechnology improves chemotherapy delivery
Michigan State University scientists have invented a new way to monitor chemotherapy concentrations, which is more effective in keeping patients' treatments within the crucial therapeutic window.

Novel anti-cancer nanomedicine for efficient chemotherapy
Researchers have developed a new anti-cancer nanomedicine for targeted cancer chemotherapy.

Ending needless chemotherapy for breast cancer
A diagnostic test developed at The University of Queensland might soon determine if a breast cancer patient requires chemotherapy or would receive no benefit from this gruelling treatment.

A homing beacon for chemotherapy drugs
Killing tumor cells while sparing their normal counterparts is a central challenge of cancer chemotherapy.

Read More: Chemotherapy News and Chemotherapy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.