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Akynzeo Approved for Chemotherapy-Induced Nausea and Vomiting

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The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the anti-nausea and vomiting agent, Akynzeo (netupitant and palonosetron), for patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Akynzeo is a combination of two drugs: palonosetron and netupitant. Palonosetron, which was approved by the FDA in 2008 prevents nausea and vomiting during its acute phase, which is within the first 24 hours after the start of chemotherapy. Netupitant is a new drug that prevents nausea and vomiting during both acute and delayed phase, which is 25 to 120 hours after the start of chemotherapy.

Nausea and vomiting is a common and often times serious side effect of some chemotherapy agents. Both nausea and vomiting can result in dehydration, imbalances of certain substances in the body, such as electrolytes, and can result in the delay of chemotherapy and/or reduction of optimal doses.

Therefore, prevention or reduction of nausea and vomiting is critical for a patient’s best chance of achieving optimal outcomes.

The trial prompting the FDA approval of Akynzeo included 1,720 patients with cancer who were being treated with chemotherapy. Patients received either Akynzeo or palonosetron.

Overall, patients treated with Akynzeo had fewer episodes of vomiting, and required fewer “rescue” medications for nausea during the acute, delayed and overall phases.

Reference: United States Food and Drug Administration. FDA News Release. FDA approves Akynzeo for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. Accessed November 14, 2014. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm418375.htm.