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Expert Opin Drug Saf. 2014 Oct;13(10):1407-22. doi: 10.1517/14740338.2014.954546. Epub 2014 Sep 6.

5-Hydroxytryptamine3 receptor antagonists and cardiac side effects.

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Odense University Hospital, Department of Oncology R , Odense , Denmark.



5-Hydroxytryptamine3-receptor antagonists (5-HT3-RA) are the most widely used antiemetics in oncology, and although tolerability is high, QTC prolongation has been observed in some patients.


The purpose of this article is to outline the risk of cardiac adverse events (AEs) from 5-HT3-RAs, with focus on the three most commonly used, ondansetron, granisetron and palonosetron.


Most of the studies analyze electrocardiogram (ECG) changes after 5-HT3-RA administrations in healthy, young adults, or in noncancer patients to treat postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). Only a few studies have addressed ECG changes in cancer patients treated for chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV). Investigations in cancer patients are essential, because these patients are older and have a higher incidence of comorbidity, than those usually included in clinical trials. Furthermore, polypharmacy is frequent and drug-drug interactions between chemotherapy and other QTc-prolonging drugs may influence the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of the 5-HT3-RAs. During the next 10 - 15 years a huge increase in the number of cancer patients is expected, primarily in the group of 65-plus-year old. Therefore it will be crucial to address the incidence of cardiac AEs in cancer patients with known heart disease receiving chemotherapy and a 5-HT3 RA for the prophylaxis of CINV.


5-Hydroxytryptamine3-receptor antagonist; QT prolongation; cardiac adverse events; cardiac side effects; granisetron; ondansetron; palonosetron

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