Aprepitant

Brand Names

Emend (There may be other brand names for this medication)

How is Aprepitant Administered?

This drug is taken by mouth. If you have a PEG tube: Empty the contents of the Emend capsule into water. Immediately administer the mixture via the feeding tube and then flush the tube with water to make sure you received all the medication.

What is Aprepitant Used For?

This drug is given to prevent nausea and vomiting.

How Does it Work?

Cancer is a group of diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control.    Unfortunately, the cells that line the digestive tract naturally reproduce rapidly; so many people will have nausea and vomiting as a side effect of their chemotherapy.

Instead of working on the stomach, aprepitant works directly on the part of the brain that controls vomiting. It is usually given with other anti-emetic drugs that block the signals from the stomach to the vomiting center of the brain.

What Should I Tell My Doctor Before I Begin Using Aprepitant?

Tell your doctor if you:

  • are taking warfarin(Coumadin®),itraconazole(Sporanox®), ketoconazole (Nizoral®), alprazolam (Xanax®), diazepam (Valium®), midazolam (Versed®), triazolam (Halcion®), diltiazem (Cardizem®), docetaxel (Taxotere®), etoposide (Toposar®), ifosfamide (Ifex®), imatinib (Gleevec®), irinotecan (Camptosar®), paclitaxel (Taxol®), tamoxifen (Nolvadex®), vinblastine, vincristine (Vincasar®), and vinorelbine (Navelbine®); carbamazepine (Tegretol®); clarithromycin (Biaxin®); diltiazem (Cardizem®) antiviral medications, birth control pills, nefazadone (Serzone®), dexamethasone (Decadron®), methylprednisolone (Medrol®), paroxetine (Paxil®); phenytoin (Dilantin®); rifampin (Rifadin®); or tolbutamide (Orinase®)
  • have had liver disease
  • are pregnant or breast feeding

This drug may interact with other medications, increasing or decreasing their effectiveness or causing harmful side effects. Tell your doctor and pharmacist about any prescription or over-the- counter medications, vitamins, herbal or diet supplements that you are taking.

What Are Some Side Effects I May Experience?

  • Fatigue, weakness, headache, and/or dizziness
  • Loss of appetite, hiccups, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, dehydration, and/or constipation

How Can I Manage These Side Effects?

  • Rest often
  • Drink lots of water and eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Check with your doctor before taking any laxative product
  • Eat frequent small meals or snacks. Avoid eating large, heavy meals; hot, spicy foods; and caffeine (cola, coffee, tea, or chocolate)
  • For headaches, check with your doctor for the best pain reliever

When Should I Call the Doctor?

Call your doctor immediately if you have:

  • any sign of an allergic reaction: itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, dizziness, or palpitations

What Else Do I Need to Know About Aprepitant?

  • Aprepitant does not treat nausea or vomiting once they have begun.
  • Avoid grapefruit juice and St John's wort while taking this medication.
  • Store this medication at room temperature in a tightly closed container to protect it from heat, high humidity, and bright light.
  • If you take warfarin (Coumadin), you will need to have your blood tested after each treatment for 2 weeks.
  • This drug may make birth control pills less effective. Use an alternative or additional method of birth control, such as condoms or a diaphragm.
  • Do not breastfeed while taking this medication.
  • If you would like more information, talk to your doctor.