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Zofran (Ondansetron) is a prescription drug used to treat nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery. It is part of a class of drugs known as serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. It works by blocking serotonin receptors in the body that can cause these symptoms.
Zofran is used to prevent nausea and vomiting for many different reasons and can be prescribed in various forms. In addition to its well-known uses, Zofran is an effective treatment for other conditions such as morning sickness during pregnancy.
Ondansetron is used alone or with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer drug treatment (chemotherapy) and radiation therapy. It is also used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting after surgery. It is important to take this medication exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Do not take more medication or take it more often than prescribed.
Uses and Dosage
Ondansetron comes in the form of a tablet to be taken by mouth usually within 30 minutes before treatment begins for preventing nausea from chemotherapy. To prevent nausea from radiation treatment, take this medication by mouth 1 to 2 hours before the start of your treatment. To prevent nausea after surgery, take ondansetron by mouth 1 hour before the start of surgery. This medication may be taken with or without food.
Ondansetron dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy. The dosage for children may also be based on age and weight.
- For moderately emetogenic chemotherapy, the recommended dosage is 8 mg started 30 minutes before chemotherapy and then repeated every 12 hours for 1-2 days after chemotherapy.
- For highly emetogenic chemotherapy, the recommended dosage is 24 mg started 30 minutes before chemotherapy.
- For total body radiation therapy, the recommended dosage is 8 mg 1-2 hours before radiation therapy and administered each day.
- For single high-dose fraction therapy to the abdomen, the recommended dosage is 8 mg 1-2 hours before radiation therapy and subsequent doses every 8 hours after the first dose.
- For daily fractions to the abdomen, the recommended dosage is 8 mg 1-2 hours before radiation therapy and subsequent doses every 8 hours after the first dose each day radiotherapy is given.
Common side effects of Zofran may include:
- Tired feeling
Serious Zofran Side Effects Includes
- Severe constipation, stomach pain, or bloating
- Headache with chest pain and severe dizziness, fainting, fast or pounding heartbeat
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)
- Blurred vision or temporary vision loss (lasting from only a few minutes to several hours)
- Elevated levels of serotonin in the body--agitation, hallucinations, fever, fast heart rate, overactive reflexes, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, fainting
Form and Strength
Ondansetron, the generic alternative of Zofran, is available in the following forms and strengths:
- 8 mg
- Tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had Long QT Syndrome (LQTS) or another type of irregular heartbeat or heart rhythm problem, or if you have or have ever had low blood levels of magnesium or potassium in your blood, heart failure (HF; condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts of the body), or liver disease.
- Ondansetron should be stored in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. The tablets and rapidly disintegrating tablets should be kept away from light and stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking ondansetron, call your doctor.
- If you have phenylketonuria (PKU, an inherited condition in which a special diet must be followed to prevent damage to your brain that can cause severe intellectual disability), you should know that the orally disintegrating tablets contain aspartame that forms phenylalanine.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What happens if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose of the medicine to make up for a missed dose.
What other drugs will affect Zofran?
Zofran can cause a serious heart problem, especially if you use certain medicines at the same time, including antibiotics, antidepressants, heart rhythm medicine, antipsychotic medicines, and medicines to treat cancer, malaria, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) or AIDS. Tell your doctor about all medicines you use, and those you start or stop using during your treatment.
How long before a meal should you take ondansetron?
If you are taking ondansetron Zofran to treat nausea associated with meals, the standard tablet should be taken half an hour to 1 hour before meals.
How long does ondansetron take to work?
Oral ondansetron (Zofran) works quickly, usually within 30 minutes, but it may take up to two hours for the full effect. This medication is usually taken 30 minutes before chemotherapy, 1 hour before surgery, or 1 to 2 hours before radiation treatments, to help prevent nausea and vomiting.
It's important to purchase Zofran from verified Canadian pharmacy.