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Emend® is the brand name of aprepitant, which is one of several anti-emetic medications used to prevent nausea and vomiting. It is typically used in combination with other anti-nausea drugs to prevent a nausea response to chemotherapy; however, it is sometimes given before a surgery to forestall vomiting as a side effect of anesthesia. This medication works by blocking a brain chemical called neurokinin that triggers vomiting or nausea. Emend® is generally given over a period of three days, beginning with the first day of chemotherapy, and is not intended for long-term use. It is often given in capsule form but also can be administered intravenously as an infusion.
Typically administered over a period of three days, the first dose of Emend® is given an hour before chemotherapy begins. It can be taken with or without food. It is generally recommended that chemotherapy patients avoid greasy, high-fat, or heavy meals just before undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
Emend® is known to have serious drug interactions with Orap®, Hismanal®, Propulsid®, and Seldane®. A number of other brand-name drugs are available to suppress nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy. These include Zofran®, Kytril®, Aloxi®, and Anzemet®.
The use of Emend® alongside a blood thinner such as warfarin might increase the risk of blood clots. Emend® could also have drug interactions with a variety of other medications, including some antibiotics, some antidepressants such as Paxil®, HIV medications, steroids, anti-seizure medications, and some anti-fungal medicines. It can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, so a backup method of contraception is recommended.
Emend® might not be appropriate for individuals with liver disease. It is not known whether this medication is safe for pregnant women. Nursing mothers are discouraged from breastfeeding while on this medication.
Side effects of this drug can vary widely. The most serious possible side effects are rash and hives. Other potential side effects include fatigue, weakness, gastrointestinal effects, stomach pain, hiccups, loss of appetite, fever, headache, itching, and hair loss.
In addition to the use of anti-nausea medications, individuals undergoing chemotherapy can take other steps to help prevent vomiting or nausea. It is recommended that individuals should stay hydrated by drinking water and juice throughout the day. Avoiding ingesting liquids with meals can also help. Eating small frequent meals, including snacks of dry food such as crackers or toast, might be helpful. It is recommended that individuals undergoing chemotherapy should avoid smoking and the use of caffeine during treatment.