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What are the best medicines and preventions for vomiting?

Vomiting is a general symptom that can be attributed to many factors such as infection, cancer, drugs side effect and oesophageal irritation. A person may present to the clinic with only vomiting as their presenting complaint or with other symptoms that may indicate a more specific underlying cause.

Treating and preventing vomiting can be either focusing on the symptom itself or by managing the causes of the disease. Here are some of the ways to treat vomiting.

  1. Anti-emetics

Anti-emetics are also called as anti-vomiting drugs. They work in several ways to prevent nausea and vomiting. However, these medications also present with their own side effects such as constipation, muscle spasm and drowsiness.

  1. Serotonin-3 Receptor Antagonist

This is strong vomiting preventing medication prescribed for conditions such as post-surgical nausea and vomiting and cancer drugs side effects. An example of the drug in this class is Ondansetron. The latter has many preparations in the form of tablet, injection and sublingual.

  1. Dopamine Antagonist

The drugs of this class work on the chemoreceptor on the brain stem by blocking the dopamine neurotransmitter (the chemicals that sends information to other nerves). This leads to prevention of the vomiting reflex. Examples of the drugs of this class are Domperidone and Metoclopramide. Besides blocking the signals that cause vomiting, these drugs also help bowel movement forward thus further preventing the vomitus from rising up to the throat.

  1. Antihistamine-1

This is the most common anti-vomiting drugs prescribed worldwide. Famous examples are such as Cyclizine and Diphenhydramine. Antihistamine drugs work by blocking the histamine from attaching to the histamine-1 receptor in the vomiting centre in the brain.

  1. B) Other Medications

  1. Proton Pump Inhibitor (PPI)

PPI works by reducing the acidity in the stomach. It does not prevent vomiting but is great for patients with recurrent vomiting due to oesophageal problems or due to peptic ulcer disease. This is to ensure that the oesophagus is protected from the constant irritation by the stomach acid.

  1. Antibiotics

A lot of infection may cause nausea and vomiting due to unknown reason. The infection itself does not necessarily originate from the gastrointestinal system to cause vomiting. Eliminating the source of infection is the best way to relieve the symptom of vomiting in people with infection. However, antibiotics can paradoxically worsen the vomiting symptom as well. Therefore, precaution should be taken.

  1. C) Other Prevention

  1. Managing and treating hormonal disease

Various diseases involving hormonal instability can lead to vomiting such as diabetes, Addison’s disease and phaeochromocytoma.

  1. Treating the cause of headache immediately

Due to the vomiting receptor situated in the central nervous centre, any headache due to migraine, stroke or meningitis can stimulate this centre and cause vomiting with a severe headache.

Treating the symptom of vomiting is not as straight forward as most people might think it is. As mentioned above, the best way to relieve the vomiting is by tackling the cause of it and this requires full consultation and examination by a doctor. Medicines for vomiting can help to alleviate the symptoms and should only be used with doctor’s advice and after excluding other serious causes first.