Palonosetron to prevent sickness (Aloxi)

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Palonosetron is an anti-sickness medicine.

Take one capsule, one hour before chemotherapy treatment.

The most common side-effect is headache.

Type of medicine 5HT3-receptor antagonist anti-sickness medicine
Used for Prevention of sickness associated with chemotherapy in adults
Also called Aloxi®
Available as Capsules and injection

Palonosetron is known as a 5HT3-receptor antagonist. It is prescribed to stop you from feeling sick. It works by blocking the effect of a naturally produced chemical in your body, called serotonin. Serotonin is also referred to as 5HT.

Chemotherapy (or 'chemo' as it is often called) can cause the release of an increased amount of serotonin in your body. There are small receptors in your small intestine and brain called 5HT3 receptors. Serotonin acts on these receptors and causes you to feel sick. Palonosetron works by blocking serotonin from acting on the 5HT3 receptors, and this stops you from feeling (or being) sick.

Some medicines are not suitable for people with certain conditions, and sometimes a medicine may only be used if extra care is taken. For these reasons, before you start taking palonosetron it is important that your doctor knows:

  • If you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • If you have had a problem with severe constipation.
  • If you have been told you have an irregular heartbeat.
  • If you have ever had an allergic reaction to a medicine.
  • If you are taking any other medicines. This includes any medicines you are taking which are available to buy without a prescription, such as herbal and complementary medicines.
  • Before you start treatment, read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside your pack. The manufacturer’s leaflet will give you more information about palonosetron and a full list of side-effects which you may experience from taking it.
  • Take the palonosetron capsule exactly as your doctor tells you to. You will be asked to take one capsule (500 micrograms), one hour before your chemo treatment starts.
  • Swallow the capsule whole - it may help to take it with a drink of water. It is not important whether you take it before or after food.
  • You will only be given palonosetron before you have chemotherapy. If you need anything for sickness after your treatment, you will be given a different medicine to take.
  • Even if you do not feel like eating or drinking, try to sip water regularly to prevent you from becoming dehydrated.
  • Rather than trying to eat three main meals a day, try eating small, simple but nourishing snacks, every few hours.

Along with their useful effects, most medicines can cause unwanted side-effects although not everyone experiences them. The table below contains the most common one associated with palonosetron. You will find a full list in the manufacturer's information leaflet supplied with your medicine.

Common palonosetron side-effect - this affects less than 1 in 10 people who take this medicine
What can I do if I experience this?
 HeadacheAsk your doctor to prescribe/recommend a suitable painkiller

If you experience any other symptoms which you think may be due to this medicine, speak with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Never take more than the prescribed dose. If you suspect that you or someone else might have taken an overdose of this medicine, go to the accident and emergency department of your local hospital. Take the container with you, even if it is empty.

This medicine is for you. Never give it to other people even if their condition appears to be the same as yours.

If you are having an operation or any dental treatment, tell the person carrying out the treatment which medicines you are taking.

If you buy any medicines, check with a pharmacist that they are suitable to take with your other medicines.

Do not keep out-of-date or unwanted medicines. Take them to your local pharmacy which will dispose of them for you.

If you have any questions about this medicine ask your pharmacist.

Further reading & references

Disclaimer: This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. EMIS has used all reasonable care in compiling the information but make no warranty as to its accuracy. Consult a doctor or other health care professional for diagnosis and treatment of medical conditions. For details see our conditions.

Original Author:
Helen Allen
Current Version:
Peer Reviewer:
Prof Cathy Jackson
Document ID:
28714 (v1)
Last Checked:
Next Review:
The Information Standard - certified member

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