Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antiemetic
Pharmacologic Class: Granisetron
Uses For granisetron
Granisetron injection is used to prevent nausea and vomiting that may occur after treatment with cancer medicines (chemotherapy or radiation), including high-dose cisplatin. Granisetron is also used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting that may happen after surgery.
Granisetron is a selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. It works in the stomach to block the signals to the brain that cause nausea and vomiting.
Granisetron is to be given only by or under the immediate supervision of your doctor.
Before Using granisetron
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For granisetron, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to granisetron or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated pediatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of granisetron injection in children with cancer. However, safety and efficacy have not been established in children younger than 2 years of age.
Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects granisetron injection for the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting after surgery in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of granisetron injection in the elderly.
There are no adequate studies in women for determining infant risk when using this medication during breastfeeding. Weigh the potential benefits against the potential risks before taking this medication while breastfeeding.
Interactions with Medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. When you are receiving granisetron, it is especially important that your healthcare professional know if you are taking any of the medicines listed below. The following interactions have been selected on the basis of their potential significance and are not necessarily all-inclusive.
Using granisetron with any of the following medicines is not recommended. Your doctor may decide not to treat you with this medication or change some of the other medicines you take.
Using granisetron with any of the following medicines is usually not recommended, but may be required in some cases. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
- Aripiprazole Lauroxil
- Arsenic Trioxide
- Inotuzumab Ozogamicin
- Methylene Blue
- Morphine Sulfate Liposome
- Sodium Phosphate
- Sodium Phosphate, Dibasic
- Sodium Phosphate, Monobasic
- St John's Wort
Using granisetron with any of the following medicines may cause an increased risk of certain side effects, but using both drugs may be the best treatment for you. If both medicines are prescribed together, your doctor may change the dose or how often you use one or both of the medicines.
Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Other Medical Problems
The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of granisetron. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:
- Allergy to selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists (such as alosetron [Lotronex®], dolasetron [Anzemet®], ondansetron [Zofran®], or palonosetron [Aloxi®])—Use with caution. It is likely you will also be allergic to granisetron.
- Bowel blockage or
- Gastric distension (enlarged abdomen)—May cover up symptoms of these stomach or bowel problems, especially in patients who had a recent abdominal or stomach surgery.
- Electrolyte imbalance or
- Heart disease—May increase risk to have prolonged QT interval.
- Heart rhythm problems (e.g., arrhythmia, prolonged QT interval)—Use with caution. May make this condition worse.
Proper Use of granisetron
A nurse or other trained health professional will give you or your child granisetron in a hospital or cancer treatment center. Granisetron is given through a needle placed in one of your veins.
When granisetron is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer medicines (chemotherapy), it is usually given 30 minutes before the start of chemotherapy, and only on the day your cancer treatment is given.
When granisetron is used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting caused by surgery, it is usually given 30 seconds before anesthesia (medicine to put you to sleep before surgery) or right after surgery if nausea and vomiting begin.
Precautions While Using granisetron
Check with your doctor if severe nausea and vomiting continue after leaving the hospital or cancer treatment center.
Granisetron may cause serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be life-threatening and requires immediate medical attention. Call your doctor right away if you or your child have a rash; itching; dizziness or lightheadedness; trouble breathing; trouble swallowing; or any swelling of your hands, face, or mouth after receiving granisetron.
Check with your doctor right away if you or your child start to have pain or swelling in your stomach area. These may be signs of a serious stomach or bowel problem.
Granisetron can cause changes in heart rhythms, such as a condition called QT prolongation. It may change the way your heart beats and cause fainting or serious side effects in some patients. Contact your doctor right away if you or your child have any symptoms of heart rhythm problems, such as fast, pounding, or uneven heartbeats.
Granisetron contains benzyl alcohol which may cause serious reactions to newborn, premature, or low-birthweight infants. Check with your doctor if you are concerned.
Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.
Granisetron Side Effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor or nurse immediately if any of the following side effects occur:
- Blurred vision
- pounding in the ears
- slow or fast heartbeat
- Arm, back, or jaw pain
- chest pain or discomfort
- chest tightness or heaviness
- dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
- irregular heartbeat
- shortness of breath
- skin rash, hives, and itching
Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:
- Abdominal or stomach pain
- difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
- lack or loss of strength
- unusual tiredness or weakness
- sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
- sour stomach
- trouble with sleeping
- unusual taste in the mouth
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
See also: Side effects (in more detail)
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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