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Droperidol (By injection)

Prevents nausea and vomiting that may occur after surgery or diagnostic procedures.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Droperidol injection is used to prevent the nausea and vomiting that may occur after surgery or diagnostic procedures. This medicine is to be given only by or under the direct supervision of your doctor… Read more
Brand names include
Inapsine
Drug classes About this
Anesthetic Adjunct, Antiemetic

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Droperidol for the treatment of nausea and vomiting (sickness) in people with advanced disease

Nausea (a feeling of sickness) and vomiting are common and distressing symptoms for people with advanced cancer and other life‐threatening illnesses. Several medications to control these symptoms are available. Droperidol is one example, which has been used to try to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting for people having surgery or chemotherapy. In our search updated in November 2013 we found no randomised studies of droperidol for the treatment of nausea or vomiting for people receiving palliative care or suffering from an incurable progressive medical condition. Several studies reported on the use of droperidol for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Further studies are needed to find out which medications are most suitable to treat nausea and vomiting in palliative care.

Droperidol for psychosis‐induced aggression or agitation

People with psychosis can experience symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) or delusions (belief in things that are bizarre or obviously not true). These symptoms are often disturbing and frightening, and can lead to people with psychosis becoming very disturbed, violent or agitated. Droperidol is one of the medicines normally used to help calm (tranquillise) people in this situation. Previously, the use of this drug was based on results from small clinical trials with no firm conclusion regarding its effects. Larger trials were needed.

Low-dose droperidol (<=1mg or <=15microg per kg) for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting in adults: quantitative systematic review of randomised controlled trials

This review concluded that low-dose droperidol (≤1mg or ≤15μgkg-1) was clearly efficacious for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting and there was an argument to stop using doses of more than 1mg. The conclusions reflect the evidence but the restriction to published studies and limitations in the evidence base may mean that the conclusions are overly strong.

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Summaries for consumers

Droperidol for the treatment of nausea and vomiting (sickness) in people with advanced disease

Nausea (a feeling of sickness) and vomiting are common and distressing symptoms for people with advanced cancer and other life‐threatening illnesses. Several medications to control these symptoms are available. Droperidol is one example, which has been used to try to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting for people having surgery or chemotherapy. In our search updated in November 2013 we found no randomised studies of droperidol for the treatment of nausea or vomiting for people receiving palliative care or suffering from an incurable progressive medical condition. Several studies reported on the use of droperidol for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. Further studies are needed to find out which medications are most suitable to treat nausea and vomiting in palliative care.

Droperidol for psychosis‐induced aggression or agitation

People with psychosis can experience symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there) or delusions (belief in things that are bizarre or obviously not true). These symptoms are often disturbing and frightening, and can lead to people with psychosis becoming very disturbed, violent or agitated. Droperidol is one of the medicines normally used to help calm (tranquillise) people in this situation. Previously, the use of this drug was based on results from small clinical trials with no firm conclusion regarding its effects. Larger trials were needed.

Drugs for preventing nausea and vomiting after surgery

We found eight drugs that reliably prevented nausea or vomiting after surgery. The drugs prevented nausea or vomiting in three or four people out of every 10 who would have vomited or felt nauseated with a placebo. We did not find reliable evidence that one drug was better than another. A person's age or sex, the type of surgery, or the time the drug was given did not change the effect of a drug. When drugs were given together, their effects simply added. Side effects were mild and affected four out of 100 people for the two drugs most studied.

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