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Anzemet Side Effects

Generic Name: dolasetron

Note: This page contains information about the side effects of dolasetron. Some of the dosage forms included on this document may not apply to the brand name Anzemet.

In Summary

More frequent side effects include: dizziness. See below for a comprehensive list of adverse effects.

For the Consumer

Applies to dolasetron: oral tablet

Other dosage forms:

In addition to its needed effects, some unwanted effects may be caused by dolasetron (the active ingredient contained in Anzemet). In the event that any of these side effects do occur, they may require medical attention.

Severity: Major

You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking dolasetron:

More common:
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, or fainting
  • slow or irregular heartbeat
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
Less common:
  • Chills
  • decrease in the amount of urine
  • fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse
  • fever
  • Agitation
  • black, tarry stools
  • bleeding gums
  • bloating or swelling of the face, arms, hands, lower legs, or feet
  • blood in the urine or stools
  • blurred vision
  • burning while urinating
  • changes in skin color
  • confusion
  • cough
  • delirium
  • depression
  • diarrhea
  • difficult or labored breathing
  • difficult or painful urination
  • difficulty with swallowing
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • feeling of warmth
  • feeling uncoordinated
  • frequent urination
  • hallucinations
  • headache
  • hives or welts, itching, or skin rash
  • increased volume of pale, dilute urine
  • irritability
  • lethargy
  • muscle twitching
  • nausea
  • noisy breathing
  • numbness and tingling of the face, fingers, or toes
  • pain in the arms, legs, or lower back, especially pain in the calves or heels upon exertion
  • pain, tenderness, or swelling of the foot or leg
  • pale skin
  • pale, bluish-colored, or cold hands or feet
  • pinpoint red or purple spots on the skin
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • rapid weight gain
  • red skin
  • rigid muscles
  • seizures
  • sweating
  • swelling of the face, ankles, or hands
  • tightness in the chest
  • tingling of the hands or feet
  • tremor
  • troubled breathing with exertion
  • unusual bleeding or bruising
  • unusual weight gain or loss
  • vomiting
  • weak or absent pulses in the legs

Severity: Minor

Some of the side effects that can occur with dolasetron may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

Less common:
  • Belching
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • pain
  • stomach discomfort, upset, or pain
  • Abnormal dreams
  • bad, unusual, or unpleasant (after) taste
  • bloating
  • bloody nose
  • change in taste
  • changes in vision
  • continuing ringing or buzzing or other unexplained noise in the ears
  • darkened urine
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • difficulty with moving
  • feeling of constant movement of self or surroundings
  • feeling of unreality
  • hearing loss
  • increased sensitivity of the eyes to sunlight
  • increased sweating
  • joint pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle aching or cramping
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • pain or burning sensation at the injection site
  • pains in the stomach, side, or abdomen, possibly radiating to the back
  • redness of the face, neck, arms, and occasionally, upper chest
  • sensation of spinning
  • sense of detachment from self or body
  • shakiness and unsteady walk
  • shakiness in the legs, arms, hands, or feet
  • swollen joints
  • unsteadiness, trembling, or other problems with muscle control or coordination
  • weight loss
  • yellow eyes or skin

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to dolasetron: intravenous solution, oral tablet


In general, side effects have included fever (4.3%), fatigue (3.6%), pain (2.4%), and chills/shivering (2.0%).

In some controlled clinical trials, dolasetron (the active ingredient contained in Anzemet) was tested for use in the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with moderately-emetogenic cancer chemotherapy (CINV). Patients in these trials primarily received concurrent high-dose cisplatin. In other controlled trials, dolasetron was tested for use patients for the prevention or treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV). For many of the effects listed below, whether the patient received concurrent chemotherapy was not specified in the literature.[Ref]

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects including headaches (9.4% to 24.3%), lightheadedness (13%), and dizziness (2.2% to 5.5%) have been reported. Flushing, vertigo, paresthesia, and tremor have been reported infrequently. Ataxia and twitching have been reported rarely.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included appetite (12% to 26.6%), diarrhea (6.0% to 12.4%), nausea (6.3% to 7%), abdominal pain (3.2%), and constipation (3.2%). Dyspepsia, abdominal pain, and anorexia have been reported infrequently. Pancreatitis has also been reported rarely.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have included abnormal hepatic function (3.6%) including transient increases in AST (SGOT) and/or ALT (SGPT) (less than 1%). Hyperbilirubinemia and increased GGT have been reported rarely.[Ref]

Increases in AST and ALT did not appear to be related to dose or duration of therapy, and were not associated with symptomatic hepatic disease.[Ref]


Similarly, results of a review of the cardiovascular effects of the drug class 5-hydroxytryptamine 3 receptor antagonists in the literature reported that electrocardiographic (ECG) changes were so small to be considered clinically insignificant. ECG changes were most noticeable between 1 to 2 hours after a dose of dolasetron (the active ingredient contained in Anzemet) and returned to baseline within 24 hours. To date, no serious cardiac side effects (including torsades de pointes) triggered by ECG interval changes have been connected with the use of 5-HT 3 receptor antagonists.[Ref]

Cardiovascular side effects have rarely included hypotension, edema, peripheral edema, Mobitz I AV block, chest pain, orthostatic hypotension, myocardial ischemia, syncope, severe bradycardia, palpitations, bradycardia, tachycardia, T wave change, ST-T wave change, sinus arrhythmia, extrasystole, poor R wave progression, bundle branch block, nodal arrhythmia, U wave change, atrial flutter/fibrillation, peripheral ischemia, and thrombophlebitis/phlebitis. Rarely, cases of sustained supraventricular and ventricular arrhythmias, cardiac arrest leading to death, and myocardial infarction have been reported during postmarketing experience.[Ref]


Dermatologic side effects have rarely included rash and increased sweating.[Ref]


Ocular side effects have included blurred vision (6.3%), visual disturbance (3.2%), and photophobia (1.6%).[Ref]


Hematologic side effects have included hematuria, epistaxis, prolonged prothrombin time, increased PTT, anemia, purpura/hematoma, and thrombocytopenia.[Ref]


Hypersensitivity side effects have rarely included anaphylactic reaction, facial edema, and urticaria.[Ref]


Metabolic side effects have rarely included increased alkaline phosphatase.[Ref]


Musculoskeletal side effects have rarely included myalgia and arthralgia.[Ref]


Psychiatric side effects have rarely included nervousness (3.2%). Agitation, sleep disorder, and depersonalization have been reported infrequently. Confusion, anxiety, and abnormal dreaming have been reported rarely.[Ref]


Respiratory side effects have rarely included dyspnea and bronchospasm.[Ref]


Genitourinary side effects have rarely included dysuria and polyuria.[Ref]


Renal side effects including acute renal failure have been reported.


Other side effects including taste perversion have been reported infrequently. Tinnitus has been reported rarely.[Ref]


1. "Product Information. Anzemet (dolasetron)." Hoechst Marion-Roussel Inc, Kansas City, MO.

2. Conroy T, Cappelaere P, Fabbro M, Fauser AA, Splinter TA, Spielmann M, Schneider M, Chevallier B, Goupil A, Chauvergne J, et al "Acute antiemetic efficacy and safety of dolasetron mesylate, a 5-HT3 antagonist, in cancer patients treated with cisplatin. Europea Dolasetron Study Group." Am J Clin Oncol 17 (1994): 97-102

3. Dixon RM, Cramer M, Shah AK, Whitmore J, Benedict CR, Hahne WF "Single-dose, placebo-controlled, phase I study of oral dolasetron." Pharmacotherapy 16 (1996): 245-52

4. Hunt TL, Cramer M, Shah A, Stewart W, Benedict CR, Hahne WF "A double-blind, placebo-controlled, dose-ranging safety evaluation of single-dose intravenous dolasetron in healthy male volunteers." J Clin Pharmacol 35 (1995): 705-12

5. Navari RM, Koeller JM "Electrocardiographic and cardiovascular effects of the 5-hydroxytryptamine(3) receptor antagonists." Ann Pharmacother 37 (2003): 1276-86

Not all side effects for Anzemet may be reported. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice. Side effects can be reported to the FDA here.

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