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Kytril Side Effects

Generic Name: granisetron

Note: This document contains side effect information about granisetron. Some of the dosage forms listed on this page may not apply to the brand name Kytril.

For the Consumer

Applies to granisetron: intravenous solution

Along with its needed effects, granisetron (the active ingredient contained in Kytril) 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 while taking granisetron:

Less common Rare
  • Arm, back, or jaw pain
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • chest tightness or heaviness
  • confusion
  • dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up suddenly from a lying or sitting position
  • fainting
  • irregular heartbeat
  • nausea
  • shortness of breath
  • skin rash, hives, and itching
  • sweating

Some side effects of granisetron 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:

More common
  • Abdominal or stomach pain
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • headache
  • lack or loss of strength
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting
Less common
  • Agitation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fear
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • sour stomach
  • trouble with sleeping
  • unusual taste in the mouth

For Healthcare Professionals

Applies to granisetron: intravenous solution, oral solution, oral tablet, subcutaneous suspension extended release, transdermal film extended release

Nervous system

Nervous system side effects have been reported the most frequently. These have included headache (up to 15% to 52.2%), dizziness (5% to 26.1%), insomnia (5%), anxiety (2%), somnolence (1%), asthenia, agitation, and stimulation. Headache (0.7%) has been reported in patients using the granisetron (the active ingredient contained in Kytril) transdermal system. One case compatible with, but not diagnostic of, extrapyramidal symptoms has been reported.[Ref]

Granisetron-induced headache is generally mild. In clinical trials, headache typically resolved spontaneously or was relieved by analgesics.[Ref]


Gastrointestinal side effects have included nausea (20%), constipation (3% to 50%), vomiting (12%), diarrhea (4% to 9%), abdominal pain (4% to 6%), dyspepsia (4% to 6%), flatulence, dry mouth, and taste disturbances. Constipation (5.4%) has been reported in patients using the granisetron (the active ingredient contained in Kytril) transdermal system.[Ref]

Constipation appears to be dose related. In dose-finding studies, constipation occurred in up to 50% of patients treated with single doses of granisetron 300 mcg/kg. If necessary, constipation may be alleviated by the use of laxatives.[Ref]


Hepatic side effects have been reported rarely. These have included elevations in serum transaminases (two times normal values). Causality is unknown. Acute pancreatitis has also been reported.[Ref]


Cardiovascular side effects have included hypertension in 1% of patients. Atrial fibrillation, angina pectoris, and syncope have been reported rarely. Hypotension, sinus bradycardia, A-V block, ventricular ectopy, QT prolongation, and ECG changes have been reported as well, although causality is unknown.[Ref]

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 granisetron 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]


Hypersensitivity side effects have been reported rarely. These have included skin rashes, facial flushing, anaphylactoid reactions, shortness of breath, hypotension, and urticaria. One report suggests hypersensitivity reactions with 5-HT 3-antagonists may be a class effect and cross-reactive.[Ref]


Other side effects including asthenia (5% to 18%) and fever (up to 8%) have been reported.[Ref]


1. Abali H, Celik I "Tropisetron, Ondansetron, and Granisetron for Control of Chemotherapy-Induced Emesis in Turkish Cancer Patients: A Comparison of Efficacy, Side-Effect Profile, and Cost." Cancer Invest 25 (2007): 135-139

2. Dilly S "Granisetron (kytril) clinical safety and tolerance." Semin Oncol 21(3 Suppl) (1994): 10-4

3. Plosker GL, Goa KL "Granisetron. A review of its pharmacological properties and therapeutic use as an antiemetic." Drugs 42 (1991): 805-24

4. Diehl V, Marty M "Efficacy and safety of antiemetics." Cancer Treat Rev 20 (1994): 379-92

5. "Product Information. Kytril (granisetron)." SmithKline Beecham, Philadelphia, PA.

6. Joss RA, Dott CS "Clinical studies with granisetron, a new 5-HT3 receptor antagonist for the treatment of cancer chemotherapy-induced emesis. The Granisetron Study Group." Eur J Cancer 29A (1993): S22-9

7. Pintens H "Granisetron (BRL 43694) in the treatment of cytostatic drug-induced emesis: a summary." Cancer Treat Rev 17 (1990): 307-10

8. Watanabe H, Hasegawa A, Shinozaki T, Arita S, Chigira M "Possible cardiac side effects of granisetron, an antiemetic agent, in patients with bone and soft-tissue sarcomas receiving cytotoxic chemotherapy." Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 35 (1995): 278-82

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

10. Kataja V, Debruijn KM "Hypersensitivity reactions associated with 5-hydroxytryptamine(3)-receptor antagonists: a class effect?" Lancet 347 (1996): 584-5

11. Kaufman MB "Adverse effects associated with dexamethasone, lorazepam, and granisetron." Ann Pharmacother 28 (1994): 1306-7

Some side effects of Kytril may not be reported. Always consult your doctor or healthcare specialist for medical advice. You may also report side effects to the FDA.

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