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      Treating nausea and vomiting in palliative care: a review

      , , ,

      Clinical Interventions in Aging

      Dove Medical Press

      nausea, vomiting, palliative care

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          Abstract

          Nausea and vomiting are portrayed in the specialist palliative care literature as common and distressing symptoms affecting the majority of patients with advanced cancer and other life-limiting illnesses. However, recent surveys indicate that these symptoms may be less common and bothersome than has previously been reported. The standard palliative care approach to the assessment and treatment of nausea and vomiting is based on determining the cause and then relating this back to the “emetic pathway” before prescribing drugs such as dopamine antagonists, antihistamines, and anticholinergic agents which block neurotransmitters at different sites along the pathway. However, the evidence base for the effectiveness of this approach is meager, and may be in part because relevance of the neuropharmacology of the emetic pathway to palliative care patients is limited. Many palliative care patients are over the age of 65 years, making these agents difficult to use. Greater awareness of drug interactions and QT c prolongation are emerging concerns for all age groups. The selective serotonin receptor antagonists are the safest antiemetics, but are not used first-line in many countries because there is very little scientific rationale or clinical evidence to support their use outside the licensed indications. Cannabinoids may have an increasing role. Advances in interventional gastroenterology are increasing the options for nonpharmacological management. Despite these emerging issues, the approach to nausea and vomiting developed within palliative medicine over the past 40 years remains relevant. It advocates careful clinical evaluation of the symptom and the person suffering it, and an understanding of the clinical pharmacology of medicines that are available for palliating them.

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          Most cited references 180

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          Updating the Beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in older adults: results of a US consensus panel of experts.

          Medication toxic effects and drug-related problems can have profound medical and safety consequences for older adults and economically affect the health care system. The purpose of this initiative was to revise and update the Beers criteria for potentially inappropriate medication use in adults 65 years and older in the United States. This study used a modified Delphi method, a set of procedures and methods for formulating a group judgment for a subject matter in which precise information is lacking. The criteria reviewed covered 2 types of statements: (1) medications or medication classes that should generally be avoided in persons 65 years or older because they are either ineffective or they pose unnecessarily high risk for older persons and a safer alternative is available and (2) medications that should not be used in older persons known to have specific medical conditions. This study identified 48 individual medications or classes of medications to avoid in older adults and their potential concerns and 20 diseases/conditions and medications to be avoided in older adults with these conditions. Of these potentially inappropriate drugs, 66 were considered by the panel to have adverse outcomes of high severity. This study is an important update of previously established criteria that have been widely used and cited. The application of the Beers criteria and other tools for identifying potentially inappropriate medication use will continue to enable providers to plan interventions for decreasing both drug-related costs and overall costs and thus minimize drug-related problems.
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            Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.

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              Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of systemically administered glucocorticoids.

              Glucocorticoids have pleiotropic effects that are used to treat diverse diseases such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus and acute kidney transplant rejection. The most commonly used systemic glucocorticoids are hydrocortisone, prednisolone, methylprednisolone and dexamethasone. These glucocorticoids have good oral bioavailability and are eliminated mainly by hepatic metabolism and renal excretion of the metabolites. Plasma concentrations follow a biexponential pattern. Two-compartment models are used after intravenous administration, but one-compartment models are sufficient after oral administration.The effects of glucocorticoids are mediated by genomic and possibly nongenomic mechanisms. Genomic mechanisms include activation of the cytosolic glucocorticoid receptor that leads to activation or repression of protein synthesis, including cytokines, chemokines, inflammatory enzymes and adhesion molecules. Thus, inflammation and immune response mechanisms may be modified. Nongenomic mechanisms might play an additional role in glucocorticoid pulse therapy. Clinical efficacy depends on glucocorticoid pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Pharmacokinetic parameters such as the elimination half-life, and pharmacodynamic parameters such as the concentration producing the half-maximal effect, determine the duration and intensity of glucocorticoid effects. The special contribution of either of these can be distinguished with pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic analysis. We performed simulations with a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model using T helper cell counts and endogenous cortisol as biomarkers for the effects of methylprednisolone. These simulations suggest that the clinical efficacy of low-dose glucocorticoid regimens might be increased with twice-daily glucocorticoid administration.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Clin Interv Aging
                Clinical Interventions in Aging
                Dove Medical Press
                1176-9092
                1178-1998
                2011
                2011
                12 September 2011
                : 6
                : 243-259
                Affiliations
                Pain and Palliative Care Service, Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Paul Glare, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA, Tel +1 646 888 3124, Fax +1 646 422 0937, Email glarep@ 123456mskcc.org
                Article
                cia-6-243
                10.2147/CIA.S13109
                3180521
                21966219
                © 2011 Glare et al, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Health & Social care

                nausea, vomiting, palliative care

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