How Do Antiemetic Agents Work?

Reviewed on 6/21/2021

HOW DO ANTIEMETIC AGENTS WORK?

Antiemetic agents are a class of medications used to treat nausea and vomiting. These two symptoms are very common and are caused by different medical conditions, therapies, procedures, and medications. Although vomiting is considered to be a protective reflex action of the body to expel toxic substances in the stomach and gut, antiemetic medications are often necessary to suppress vomiting, especially to prevent dehydration.

Antiemetic agents are administered via oral and intravenous routes.

Types of antiemetic agents:

Antiemetic agents should be appropriately prescribed by a healthcare professional, considering the person in need of it, the underlying cause, the severity of the case, and the possible side effects. 

Antiemetic agents work in the following ways:

  • Vomiting is controlled by the vomiting center in the brain, which is activated by triggers such as strong smell, thoughts and motion.
  • Antiemetic agents bind to the receptors in the vomiting center of the brain stem and block their signaling pathways (that lead to nausea and vomiting), thus reducing the nausea sensation.
  • The emetic response is mediated through multiple neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) including histamine, dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and neurokinin.
  • Neurotransmitters are the cells that receive the signals to send a nerve impulse.
  • Antiemetic agents block the action of these neurotransmitters, which prevents the signals of nausea to reach the brain that helps to control nausea and vomiting.
  • They inhibit the stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract, diaphragm, and abdominal muscles.
  • In addition, they produce a calming effect on the brain that leads to slight drowsiness.

QUESTION

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HOW ARE ANTIEMETIC AGENTS USED?

Apart from vomiting, antiemetic agents are also used in conditions such as:

WHAT ARE SIDE EFFECTS OF ANTIEMETIC AGENTS?

Common side effects include:

Other rare side effects include:

Information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible side effects, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure these drugs do not cause any harm when you take them along with other medicines. Never stop taking your medication and never change your dose or frequency without consulting your doctor.

WHAT ARE NAMES OF ANTIEMETIC AGENTS?

Drug names include:                              

References
https://reference.medscape.com/drugs/antiemetic-agents

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7186277/

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8895/promethazine-oral/details

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-144706/nabilone-oral/details

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-8774-1840/dronabinol-oral/dronabinol-solution-oral/details

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-75031/aprepitant-oral/details

https://www.medicinenet.com/diphenhydramine/article.htm#what_is_diphenhydramine_and_how_does_it_work_mechanism_of_action

https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682539.html

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