Superiority of methylprednisolone sodium succinate over low dose metoclopramide hydrochloride in the prevention of nausea and vomiting produced by cancer chemotherapy.
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Methylprednisolone sodium succinate and metoclopramide were compared for their efficacy, tolerance, and safety in the prevention of nausea and vomiting induced by moderately emetogenic chemotherapy in patients with cancer. Previously untreated patients about to receive at least 2 cycles of identical chemotherapy were entered into a study using a randomized, double-blind, crossover design. Patients were given either 250 mg of methylprednisolone or 10 mg of metoclopramide intravenously before the first cycle of chemotherapy and were then crossed over to receive the alternate medication before the second cycle of chemotherapy. Prochlorperazine was prescribed in both cycles for postchemotherapy nausea and vomiting. After each treatment cycle patients recorded the degree of nausea, drowsiness and anxiety, the number of episodes of vomiting experienced, and the amount of prochlorperazine taken. After the second treatment cycle patients recorded their preference for either the first or the second antiemetic medication with respect to nausea, vomiting, and overall effectiveness. Of 157 patients entered into the study, 115 were fully appraisable. Methylprednisolone was superior to metoclopramide in preventing nausea and vomiting and in decreasing anxiety and the amount of prochlorperazine used. A majority of the patients expressing a preference preferred methylprednisolone to metoclopramide for control of nausea (p = 0.003), control of vomiting (p = 0.0006), and overall effectiveness (p = 0.00004). There were few side-effects. We conclude that methylprednisolone may have some utility as an antiemetic in patients receiving moderately emetogenic chemotherapy, and who are treated as outpatients.