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What is Granisetron?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Granisetron is an antiemetic, a medication to suppress nausea and vomiting, usually prescribed for people experiencing adverse reactions to radiation or chemotherapy. This medication is taken shortly before and after treatments to help patients feel more comfortable, and it is available by prescription only. Most patients tolerate granisetron very well, although it can have some potentially dangerous side effects, and patients should always report side effects to their doctors for evaluation.

Tablets and solutions for injection are available for use by cancer patients. The drug is a serotonin antagonist, working to reduce the activity of the vagus nerve. This nerve communicates with the part of the brain responsible for producing nausea and vomiting, and when it is suppressed, the patient should experience a reduction in these symptoms. Many of the side effects of this drug are related to other activities of the vagus nerve that may also be reduced when patients take granisetron.

Patients on this drug can experience diarrhea or constipation, headaches, and abdominal pain. More serious side effects include changes to the heart rhythm, fever, rash, and blurred vision. It can sometimes be difficult to tell what medication is causing the symptoms, as these are also commonly associated with chemotherapy and radiation. Patients who have been experiencing abdominal pain before taking granisetron should alert their doctors, as the medication may mask the signs of a serious medical problem.

Side effects associated with chemotherapy and radiation can be severe. Patients should discuss them with their doctors to determine which are causes for concern. Some can be signs of complications and they need to be addressed, while others may be treatable with changes to doses, medication schedules, or new medications to manage the side effects. Numerous other antiemetic medications are available if a patient does not respond well to granisetron, and patients can ask their doctors about the available alternatives along with their risks and benefits.

Granisetron is not prescribed for motion sickness, as it is not effective for treating this kind of nausea. Cancer patients may develop nausea as a result of long car rides to and from treatment even after taking granisetron because the medication will not address the root causes of motion sickness. Many cancer clinics have an area for patients to rest after treatments to allow the body to recover, and some provide temporary housing for patients who are worried about having to travel to get care.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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