Why is this medication prescribed?
Dolasetron is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Dolasetron is in a class of medications called serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of serotonin, a natural substance that may cause nausea and vomiting.
How should this medicine be used?
Dolasetron comes as a tablet to take by mouth. It is usually taken within 1 hour before chemotherapy. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take dolasetron exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.
For children unable to swallow the tablet, a specially prepared dolasetron liquid dose may be mixed in apple or apple-grape juice to take by mouth. This mixture may be kept at room temperature, but must be used within 2 hours after mixing.
Other uses for this medicine
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking dolasetron,
- tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to dolasetron, any other medications, or any of the ingredients in dolasetron tablets. Ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist for a list of the ingredients.
- tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: cimetidine; diuretics ('water pills'); medications for irregular heartbeat including flecainide; quinidine (in Nuedexta); and verapamil (Calan, Covera-HS, Verelan, in Tarka); medications to treat migraines such as almotriptan (Axert), eletriptan (Relpax), frovatriptan (Frova), naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), and zolmitriptan (Zomig); methylene blue; mirtazapine (Remeron); monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors including isocarboxazid (Marplan), linezolid (Zyvox), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Eldepryl, Emsam, Zelapar), and tranylcypromine (Parnate); and rifampin (Rifadin, Rimactane, in Rifamate, in Rifater); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, in Symbyax), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft); and tramadol (Conzip, Ultram, in Ultracet). Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
- tell your doctor if you or anyone in your family has or has ever had long QT syndrome (condition that increases the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat that may cause fainting or sudden death), or another type of irregular heart beat or heart rhythm problem, or if you have or have ever had low blood levels of magnesium or potassium in your blood, a heart attack, heart failure (HF; condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to other parts of the body), or heart or kidney disease.
- tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. If you become pregnant while taking dolasetron, call your doctor.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, continue your normal diet.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Dolasetron may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- less frequent urination
Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately or seek emergency medical treatment:
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heart beat
- difficulty swallowing or breathing
- dizziness, light-headedness, or fainting
- fast, slow or irregular heartbeat
- hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
- excessive sweating
- nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- loss of coordination
- stiff or twitching muscles
- coma (loss of consciousness)
Dolasetron may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from light and excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom).
Unneeded medications should be disposed of in special ways to ensure that pets, children, and other people cannot consume them. However, you should not flush this medication down the toilet. Instead, the best way to dispose of your medication is through a medicine take-back program. Talk to your pharmacist or contact your local garbage/recycling department to learn about take-back programs in your community. See the FDA's Safe Disposal of Medicines website (http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p) for more information if you do not have access to a take-back program.
In case of emergency/overdose
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Symptoms of overdose may include the following:
- rapid, pounding, or irregular heart beat
What other information should I know?
Keep all appointments with you doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.