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Side Effects


Because clinical trials are conducted under widely varying conditions, adverse reaction rates observed in the clinical trials of a drug cannot be directly compared to rates in the clinical trials of another drug and may not reflect the rates observed in practice.

Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea And Vomiting


In clinical trials for the prevention of nausea and vomiting induced by moderately or highly emetogenic chemotherapy, 1374 adult patients received palonosetron. Adverse reactions were similar in frequency and severity with ALOXI and ondansetron or dolasetron. Following is a listing of all adverse reactions reported by ≥ 2% of patients in these trials (Table 1).

Table 1: Adverse Reactions from Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting Studies ≥ 2% in any Treatment Group

Event ALOXI 0.25 mg
Ondansetron 32 mg I.V.
Dolasetron 100 mg I.V.
Headache 60 (9%) 34 (8%) 32 (16%)
Constipation 29 (5%) 8 (2%) 12 (6%)
Diarrhea 8 (1%) 7 (2%) 4 (2%)
Dizziness 8 (1%) 9 (2%) 4 (2%)
Fatigue 3 ( < 1%) 4 (1%) 4 (2%)
Abdominal Pain 1 ( < 1%) 2 ( < 1%) 3 (2%)
Insomnia 1 ( < 1%) 3 (1%) 3 (2%)

In other studies, 2 subjects experienced severe constipation following a single palonosetron dose of approximately 0.75 mg, three times the recommended dose. One patient received a 10 mcg/kg oral dose in a post-operative nausea and vomiting study and one healthy subject received a 0.75 mg I.V. dose in a pharmacokinetic study.

In clinical trials, the following infrequently reported adverse reactions, assessed by investigators as treatment-related or causality unknown, occurred following administration of ALOXI to adult patients receiving concomitant cancer chemotherapy:

Cardiovascular: 1%: non-sustained tachycardia, bradycardia, hypotension, < 1%: hypertension, myocardial ischemia, extrasystoles, sinus tachycardia, sinus arrhythmia, supraventricular extrasystoles and QT prolongation. In many cases, the relationship to ALOXI was unclear.

Dermatological: < 1%: allergic dermatitis, rash.

Hearing and Vision: < 1%: motion sickness, tinnitus, eye irritation and amblyopia.

Gastrointestinal System: 1%: diarrhea, < 1%: dyspepsia, abdominal pain, dry mouth, hiccups and flatulence.

General: 1%: weakness, < 1%: fatigue, fever, hot flash, flu-like syndrome.

Liver: < 1%: transient, asymptomatic increases in AST and/or ALT and bilirubin. These changes occurred predominantly in patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy.

Metabolic: 1%: hyperkalemia, < 1%: electrolyte fluctuations, hyperglycemia, metabolic acidosis, glycosuria, appetite decrease, anorexia.

Musculoskeletal: < 1%: arthralgia.

Nervous System: 1%: dizziness, < 1%: somnolence, insomnia, hypersomnia, paresthesia.

Psychiatric: 1%: anxiety, < 1%: euphoric mood.

Urinary System: < 1%: urinary retention.

Vascular: < 1%: vein discoloration, vein distention.


In a pediatric clinical trial for the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting 163 cancer patients received a single 20 mcg/kg (maximum 1.5 mg) intravenous infusion of palonosetron 30 minutes before beginning the first cycle of emetogenic chemotherapy. Patients had a mean age of 8.4 years (range 2 months to 16.9 years) and were 46% male; and 93% white.

The following adverse reactions were reported for palonosetron:

Nervous System: < 1%: headache, dizziness, dyskinesia.

General: < 1%: infusion site pain.

Dermatological: < 1%: allergic dermatitis, skin disorder.

In the trial, adverse reactions were evaluated in pediatric patients receiving palonosetron for up to 4 chemotherapy cycles.

Postoperative Nausea And Vomiting

The adverse reactions cited in Table 2 were reported in ≥ 2% of adults receiving I.V. ALOXI 0.075 mg immediately before induction of anesthesia in one phase 2 and two phase 3 randomized placebo-controlled trials. Rates of events between palonosetron and placebo groups were similar. Some events are known to be associated with, or may be exacerbated by concomitant perioperative and intraoperative medications administered in this surgical population. Please refer to Section 12.2, thorough QT/QTc study results, for data demonstrating the lack of palonosetron effect on QT/QTc.

Table 2: Adverse Reactions from Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting Studies ≥ 2% in any Treatment Group

Event ALOXI 0.075 mg
Electrocardiogram QT prolongation 16 (5%) 11 (3%)
Bradycardia 13 (4%) 16 (4%)
Headache 11 (3%) 14 (4%)
Constipation 8 (2%) 11(3%)

In these clinical trials, the following infrequently reported adverse reactions, assessed by investigators as treatment-related or causality unknown, occurred following administration of ALOXI to adult patients receiving concomitant perioperative and intraoperative medications including those associated with anesthesia:

Cardiovascular: 1%: electrocardiogram QTc prolongation, sinus bradycardia, tachycardia, < 1%: blood pressure decreased, hypotension, hypertension, arrhythmia, ventricular extrasystoles, generalized edema, ECG T wave amplitude decreased, platelet count decreased. The frequency of these adverse effects did not appear to be different from placebo.

Dermatological: 1%: pruritus.

Gastrointestinal System: 1%: flatulence, < 1%: dry mouth, upper abdominal pain, salivary hypersecretion, dyspepsia, diarrhea, intestinal hypomotility, anorexia.

General: < 1%: chills.

Liver: 1%: increases in AST and/or ALT, < 1%: hepatic enzyme increased.

Metabolic: < 1%: hypokalemia, anorexia.

Nervous System: < 1%: dizziness.

Respiratory: < 1%: hypoventilation, laryngospasm.

Urinary System: 1%: urinary retention.

Postmarketing Experience

The following adverse reactions have been identified during postapproval use of ALOXI. Because these reactions are reported voluntarily from a population of uncertain size, it is not always possible to reliably estimate their frequency or establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.

Very rare cases ( < 1/10,000) of hypersensitivity reactions including anaphylaxis and anaphylactic shock and injection site reactions (burning, induration, discomfort and pain) were reported from postmarketing experience of ALOXI 0.25 mg in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

Read the Aloxi (palonosetron hydrochloride) Side Effects Center for a complete guide to possible side effects


Palonosetron is eliminated from the body through both renal excretion and metabolic pathways with the latter mediated via multiple CYP enzymes. Further in vitro studies indicated that palonosetron is not an inhibitor of CYP1A2, CYP2A6, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2D6, CYP2E1 and, CYP3A4/5 (CYP2C19 was not investigated) nor does it induce the activity of CYP1A2, CYP2D6, or CYP3A4/5. Therefore, the potential for clinically significant drug interactions with palonosetron appears to be low.

Serotonin syndrome (including altered mental status, autonomic instability, and neuromuscular symptoms) has been described following the concomitant use of 5-HT3 receptor antagonists and other serotonergic drugs, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Coadministration of 0.25 mg I.V. palonosetron and 20 mg I.V. dexamethasone in healthy subjects revealed no pharmacokinetic drug-interactions between palonosetron and dexamethasone.

In an interaction study in healthy subjects where palonosetron 0.25 mg (I.V. bolus) was administered on day 1 and oral aprepitant for 3 days (125 mg/80 mg/80 mg), the pharmacokinetics of palonosetron were not significantly altered (AUC: no change, Cmax: 15% increase).

A study in healthy volunteers involving single-dose I.V. palonosetron (0.75 mg) and steady state oral metoclopramide (10 mg four times daily) demonstrated no significant pharmacokinetic interaction.

In controlled clinical trials, ALOXI injection has been safely administered with corticosteroids, analgesics, antiemetics/antinauseants, antispasmodics and anticholinergic agents.

Palonosetron did not inhibit the antitumor activity of the five chemotherapeutic agents tested (cisplatin, cyclophosphamide, cytarabine, doxorubicin, and mitomycin C) in murine tumor models.

Read the Aloxi Drug Interactions Center for a complete guide to possible interactions

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/14/2016

Side Effects

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