Droperidol for treatment of nausea and vomiting in palliative care patients

  • Dorman S
  • Perkins P
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BACKGROUND: Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in patients with terminal illness and can be very unpleasant and distressing. There are several different types of antiemetic treatments which can be used to control these symptoms. Droperidol is an antipsychotic drug and has been used and studied as an antiemetic in the management of post-operative and chemotherapy nausea and vomiting. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the efficacy and adverse events (both minor and serious) associated with the use of droperidol for the treatment of nausea and vomiting in palliative care patients. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched electronic databases including CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL and AMED, using relevant search terms and synonyms. The basic search strategy was ("droperidol" OR "butyrophenone") AND ("nausea" OR "vomiting"), modified for each database. The search was updated on 2 December 2009. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of droperidol for the treatment of nausea or vomiting, or both, for adults receiving palliative care or suffering from an incurable progressive medical condition. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: We judged the potential relevance of studies based on their titles and abstracts, and obtained studies which we anticipated might meet the inclusion criteria. We both read these to assess suitability for inclusion. Discrepancies were discussed to achieve consensus. MAIN RESULTS: The search strategy identified 1664 abstracts (and 827 duplicates) of which 23 studies were obtained in full as potentially meeting the inclusion criteria. On review of the full papers, no studies were identified which met the inclusion criteria, therefore, there were no included studies in this review. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to advise on the use of droperidol for the management of nausea and vomiting in palliative care. Studies of antiemetics in palliative care settings are needed to identify which agents are most effective with a minimum of side effects.




Dorman, S., & Perkins, P. (2010). Droperidol for treatment of nausea and vomiting in palliative care patients. In Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd006938.pub2

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