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J Natl Cancer Inst. 1991 May 1;83(9):613-20.

Serotonin antagonists: a new class of antiemetic agents.

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Evans Memorial Department of Clinical Research, Boston University Medical Center, Mass.


Despite a number of significant advances over the past decade, prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced emesis remain formidable problems, particularly with cisplatin-containing regimens. Nearly one third of patients receiving high-dose cisplatin still experience substantial emesis despite the best available conventional antiemetics, and the toxic effects of these agents remain quite troublesome. In recent years, a new class of agents, the serotonin antagonists, has been identified. These agents hold promise for clinical utility in a wide range of areas. Selective antagonists of the serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) type 3 (5-HT3) receptor have proven in early clinical trials to be potent antiemetic agents in patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy, with efficacy comparable to or superior to that of conventional antiemetics. Toxic effects to date with the 5-HT3 receptor antagonists have been modest. The current state of knowledge with respect to these agents as antiemetics for patients receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy is summarized.

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