Author(s): Fabi A, Barduagni M, Lauro S, Portalone L, Mauri M
Nausea and vomiting have a negative influence on the quality of life of patients receiving chemotherapy. The Consensus Conference held in 1997 outlined the therapeutic procedure to prevent delayed emesis that might otherwise be induced by chemotherapy. So far, no study has evaluated the correct management of delayed emesis in clinical practice. This study was performed in an attempt to verify the conformity of the delayed emesis therapy administered in some oncological centres with the Consensus Conference guidelines. A total of 149 patients were observed for a minimum of one up to a maximum of four chemotherapy cycles; analysis of the data took account of whether the chemotherapy had a high (HEC), moderate (MEC) or low (LEC) emetogenic potential. Among 42 patients who received HEC, 18 (43%) received antiemetic prophylaxis conforming to standards; 23 (54.7%) of these 42 had delayed emesis, only 8 (34.7%) of whom were treated with adequate antiemetic protection. MEC was administered to 72 patients, 46 (64%) of whom received adequate prophylaxis; delayed emesis was observed in 31 (43%) of the 72 patients, 20 (64.5%) of whom received antiemetic prophylaxis according to established guidelines. Of 35 patients treated with LEC, 22.8% manifested delayed emesis; a high percentage of these patients, 68.5%, received prophylaxis, even though it was unnecessary. Of all patients observed, only 50.3% received correct antiemetic protection. We deduce from the study that antiemetic treatment for delayed emesis in clinical practice needs more attention. Correct prophylaxis is necessary when HEC is given, and antiemetic protection for patients receiving MEC must be improved; among patients treated with LEC those at high risk must be identified so that overtreatment can be avoided.