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Aprepitant: the evidence for its place in the prevention of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting

Authors Chrisp P

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:2(1)


Paul Chrisp

Core Medical Publishing, Knutsford, UK

Introduction: Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) represents a significant burden on patients and healthcare systems. Despite the introduction of serotonin antagonists, many patients still experience CINV, particularly delayed symptoms occurring more than 24 hours after chemotherapy. Aprepitant is a selective neurokinin-1 (NK1) receptor antagonist approved for use with other antiemetics to prevent CINV caused by moderately to highly emetogenic chemotherapy.

Aims: To review the evidence underlying the use of aprepitant to prevent CINV.

Evidence review: In patients receiving moderately and highly emetogenic chemotherapy, adding aprepitant to standard antiemetic therapy with dexamethasone and a serotonin antagonist significantly improved control of CINV. The degree of control of delayed CINV was particularly pronounced, and effectiveness was more likely to be maintained in multiple cycles compared with standard therapy. Nausea was generally less frequent among patients taking aprepitant. More patients receiving aprepitant were satisfied with their treatment and reported minimal/no impact of CINV on daily activities. Aprepitant appears to be well tolerated, with fatigue being the most commonly reported adverse event. The drug is an inhibitor and inducer of cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4, resulting in contraindications and caution with some concomitant medication. Limited economic evidence suggests that a proportion of the acquisition cost of aprepitant may be offset by savings in overall direct costs of managing CINV.

Place in therapy: The evidence supports the recommended use of aprepitant in clinical guidelines for the prevention of CINV due to highly emetogenic chemotherapy, and its recently approved role in regimens with moderate risk. It is particularly useful for delayed symptoms.

Key words: aprepitant, chemotherapy, evidence, nausea, vomiting

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