Antiemetic drugs are a group of drugs used to treat nausea and vomiting. Vomiting occurs when the part of the brain that controls vomiting is activated. The vomiting trigger in the brain can be activated for a variety of reason, including but not limited to, overindulgence in food or alcohol, disorders of the stomach, disruption in the balance of the inner ear and as an adverse effect of many drugs. Antiemetic drugs are often prescribed to treat motion sickness, Meniere’s disease, and to off-set the effects of anti-cancer drugs.
The easiest way to explain how an Antiemetic drug works is to say that they essentially “block” the message to the part of the brain that controls vomiting. Some Antiemetic drugs work by reducing nerve activity in the brain, that in turn suppresses the vomiting reflex. Other Antiemetic drugs work by suppressing nerve activity in the inner ear, when the nerve activity in the balance centre is suppressed, vomiting due to vertigo, is greatly decreased. Still other Antiemetic drugs relax stomach muscles enabling the contents of the stomach to pass into the intestine and through the large bowel. Antiemetic drugs are very rarely prescribed to treat food poisoning because vomiting in this case is believed to help eliminate poisonous substances from the body.
The most common type of antiementic drugs are:
Bismuth subsalicylate, such as Pepto Bismol and Kaopectate
Antihistamines, such as Dramamine
Phenothiazines, such as Thorazine
Some possible side affects of Antiemetic drugs are drowsiness, dark color stool, inability to think clearly, and dry eyes and mouth. Some forms of Antiemetic drugs should not be taken if your are pregnant or if you have had an allergic reaction to Aspirin. Children shouldn’t take Antiemetic drugs if they have the flu or chicken pox because it increases the risk of Rhys-Syndrome. Consult your physician or pharmacist before you take, or give to children, any new medication. Be sure to ask about any drug interaction you may have with current prescriptions you are taking.
Antiemetic drugs play an important roll in the lives of people suffering from nausea and vomiting. Excessive vomiting can lead to dehydration and the loss of electrolytes in the body. The lives of people who are taking anti-cancer medication and those suffering from conditions like Meniere’s disease are made more bearable due to the effects of Antiemetic drugs.
The Canadian Medical Association, Home Medical Encyclopedia