WHAT IS ZOFRAN AND WHY IT IS PRESCRIBED?
Zofran is a brand name for the drug ondansetron, which is used for curing or reducing nausea from different disorders such as cancer therapies (such as radiotherapy and chemotherapy), operation, or nausea in pregnant women. It may also help prevent the common complication of shivering in people who have had anesthesia.
Zofran inhibits serotonin, which is a natural substance in the brain that can induce nausea and vomiting. It belongs to a class of drugs called serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. These drugs are antiemetic, and hence they help to block the feeling of nausea and vomiting.
Remember not to consume Zofran while intaking apomorphine (Apokyn). Also, refrain from using Zofran in the case are allergic to ondansetron or medicines such as dolasetron (Anzemet), or palonosetron (Aloxi).
DOSAGES OF ZOFRAN
- To prevent nausea from chemotherapy, this medication is taken by mouth, usually within 30 minutes before treatment begins.
- To prevent nausea from radiation treatment, this medication is taken by mouth 1 to 2 hours before starting your treatment.
- To prevent nausea after surgery, this medication is taken by mouth 1 hour before surgery. However, doctors may advise not to eat before chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery.
- If one is using the liquid form of this medication, a special measuring spoon or device must be used to measure out the prescribed dose.
- You can take any other doses as directed by the doctor.
- Ondansetron can be consumed up to 3 times a day for at least 1 to 2 days after one’s chemotherapy, or radiation treatment is finished.
- If one is taking this medication on a prescribed schedule, it must be taken regularly to benefit from it.
Based on the patients’ medical condition and owing to their response to the treatment, the dosage is given.
WARNINGS/ PRECAUTIONS TO FOLLOW BEFORE TAKING ZOFRAN
- The doctor or pharmacist must be informed of allergies (if any) before taking ondansetron.
- This product contains certain inactive ingredients, which tend to cause allergies.
- The doctor or pharmacist must be informed about the medical history, especially of irregular heartbeat, liver disease, and stomach/intestinal problems before using it.
- Ondansetron leads to the generation of a condition that affects the heartbeat of an individual. This phenomenon is called QT prolongation) and it can be fatal at times if medical help is not provided at the earliest.
- The risk posed by QT prolongation gets increased if one is suffering from certain medical conditions or is taking some other drugs that may cause QT prolongation. Hence before using ondansetron, it is advised to take the permission of the doctor or pharmacist.
- The levels of magnesium and potassium in the patients’ blood may also increase the risk of QT prolongation. This risk may increase if one uses certain drugs (such as diuretics) or if one has conditions such as severe sweating, diarrhea, or vomiting.
- One may feel dizzy upon the consumption of this drug. Alcohol or marijuana can make one more dizzy or drowsy.
- Older adults tend to be extra sensitive to the ZOFRAN side effects.
- This medication should be used only when needed during pregnancy. The risks and benefits must be discussed with the doctor beforehand.
- No information is known about whether or not this drug passes into breast milk. Doctor consultation is a must before breast-feeding.
SIDE EFFECTS OF ZOFRAN
Besides the needed effects, every medicine might cause certain side effects. So does this drug. Let us have a look at the side effects caused by the consumption of Zofran. It is very important to check with a doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Dizziness, fast heartbeat rate, fever, headache, shortness of breath, or weakness.
- The decrease in urination frequency, decreased urine volume, difficulty with passing urine (dribbling), or painful urination.
- Blurred vision; dizziness, faintness, the fixed position of the eye; heart stops; hoarseness; inability to move the eyes; increased blinking or spasms of the eyelid;
Some side effects occur which do not need medical attention. Also, the health care professional may be able to tell us about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. One should always check with his health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if there are any questions about them.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IN THE CASE OF OVERDOSE?
If someone has overdosed and is suffering from shortness of breath and can’t be awakened, emergency services need to be summoned as soon as possible. Otherwise, a poison control center must be called right away.
WHAT SHOULD BE DONE IF MISSED A DOSE?
Care must be taken to take each dose at the scheduled time. In case, missed a dose, it should be taken as soon as one remembers it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, the missed dose can be skipped, and the regular dosing schedule can be continued. One should refrain from taking a double dose to make up for a missed one.