Postoperative nausea and vomiting are common after recovery from general anesthesia. The antiemetic effect and safety of ondansetron, a selective serotonin type 3 (5-HT3) receptor antagonist, was determined in 36 patients suffering from nausea or vomiting during recovery from intravenous anesthesia by giving either a single intravenous dose of ondansetron (8 mg, n = 18) or placebo (n = 18) over 2–5 min in a randomized, double-blind manner. A “rescue” antiemetic was provided in case of continued vomiting or at the patient's request. Antiemetic efficacy was defined as no request for rescue antiemetic and/or no vomiting episode during the next 4 h. There was no significant difference in the demographic data between the groups. Administration of ondansetron or placebo had no significant effect on vital signs. Ondansetron was an effective antiemetic in 78% (14/18) and placebo was effective in 28% (5/18) of the patients. Laboratory studies 24 h later showed no signs of hematologic, hepatic, or renal alterations. Ondansetron at a dose of 8 mg administered intravenously over 2–5 min appears to be a safe and effective antiemetic for the treatment of nausea and/or vomiting after intravenous anesthesia.
The authors thank Carolyn Harwick for her secretarial expertise.
© 1991 International Anesthesia Research Society