The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved rolapitant (Varubi; Tesaro) as part of a combination of drugs to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by certain types of cancer chemotherapy.
Rolapitant is a substance P/neurokinin-1 (NK-1) receptor antagonist, blocking receptors that play a central role in nausea and vomiting. Its approval to prevent delayed phase chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting follows three clinical trials that showed it was better than placebo at reducing nausea and vomiting in patients taking emetic chemotherapy, when combined with granisetron and dexamethasone.
The most common side effects to treatment with rolapitant include neutropenia, hiccups, decreased appetite and dizziness.
Nausea and vomiting are common side effects of cancer chemotherapy. The symptoms can begin with the first cycle of drugs, and can kick in 24–120 hours after taking the drug, known as delayed phase nausea and vomiting. As well as being unpleasant for the patient and his or her families and carers, this delayed symptom can lead to weight loss, dehydration and malnutrition, disrupting daily life, and potentially delaying further cycles of treatment.