Comparison of tropisetron and chlorpromazine combinations in the control of nausea and vomiting of patients with advanced cancer.
Mystakidou K. Befon S. Liossi C. Vlachos L.
Pain Relief and Palliative Care Unit, Athens, Greece.
The single-institution, prospective, randomized trial was performed to evaluate the efficacy of tropisetron and chlorpromazine in the management of nausea and vomiting of terminal cancer patients. Patients had no recent chemotherapy or radiotherapy, and emesis was not due to bowel obstruction, electrolytic or metabolic disturbances, drug intake, or intracranial disease. One hundred and sixty patients randomly received either (a) chlorpromazine (CLO) (50 mg/day) plus dexamethasone (DEX) (2 mg/day), (b) chlorpromazine (25 mg/day) plus tropisetron (TRO) (5 mg/day), (c) chlorpromazine (25 mg/day plus tropisetron (5 mg/day) plus dexamethasone (2 mg/day), or (d) tropisetron (TRO) (5 mg/day). Patients were monitored from day 1 to day 15. No nausea or vomiting was defined as "total" control. On day 15, total vomiting control was achieved in 33.3% of the patients receiving CLO + DEX, 84.6% of the patients receiving CLO + TRO, 92.5% of the patients receiving CLO + TRO + DEX, and 78.9% of the patients receiving TRO. Total control of nausea was achieved in 18.0% of the patients receiving CLO + DEX, 74.4% of the patients receiving (CLO + TRO), 85.0% of the patients receiving CLO + TRO + DEX, and 65.8% of the patients receiving TRO. Tropisetron-containing combinations produced significant control of nausea and vomiting from the third day onward. All antiemetic drugs were well tolerated. These data suggest that tropisetron-containing combinations or tropisetron as a single agent are much more effective in the control of emesis in patients with advanced cancer than the conventional antiemetic combination of chlorpromazine plus dexamethasone. Tropisetron is well tolerated and may be the best choice for controlling persistent nausea and vomiting in terminal cancer patients.