Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 19, Issue 7, pp 949–956 | Cite as

Use of antiemetics in the management of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting in current UK practice

  • Alexander MolassiotisEmail author
  • Sarah G. Brearley
  • Zoe Stamataki
Original Article



The main aim of the present study was to assess antiemetic prescriptions used during chemotherapy and identify if these are in agreement with internationally agreed consensus guidelines (MASCC/ASCO).


A web-based survey in the UK was carried out collecting data through a 32-item questionnaire using a snowball sampling technique and the email lists of two large oncology societies in the country.


The participants were 154 oncologists and oncology nurse prescribers. Data showed a great variability in antiemetic prescriptions used, most not been in accordance with MASCC/ASCO consensus guidelines. The variability was also reflected in the doses of antiemetics used. Overall, clinicians undertreated patients receiving highly emetogenic chemotherapy and overtreated patients receiving low and minimally emetogenic chemotherapy. Eight of ten clinicians, however, prescribed antiemetics in accordance with consensus guidelines in moderately emetogenic chemotherapy. There was more agreement between clinicians and guidelines for acute nausea/vomiting and less for delayed symptoms. The uptake of MASCC/ASCO guidelines was minimal.


The low level of agreement between actual clinical practice and evidence-based consensus guidelines may be one of the reasons for the considerable incidence of chemotherapy-related nausea and vomiting. There is a need to utilise consensus guidelines more widely and educate clinicians on this aspect of supportive care.


Antiemetics Chemotherapy Nausea Vomiting Guidelines 



This project was funded by a grant from the Supportive & Palliative Care-Cancer Experiences Research Collaborative.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Molassiotis
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sarah G. Brearley
    • 2
  • Zoe Stamataki
    • 1
  1. 1.School of NursingUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  2. 2.School of Health and MedicineLancaster UniversityLancasterUK
  3. 3.University of Manchester, School of NursingManchesterUK

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