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Side Effects of Dolasetron (Anzemet)


Side Effects of Dolasetron (Anzemet)

Dolasetron is used for cancer chemotherapy patients to prevent nausea and vomiting. This drug is in a class of medications called 5 HT3 receptor antagonists. Inhibition of the 5 HT3 receptor works both centrally and peripherally. This drug effectively works by blocking the action of serotonin, a natural substance that may cause nausea and vomiting.

Warnings Before Anzemet Treatment

The FDA advises patients to ensure this medication is taken safely, to tell a physician of the following conditions: kidney disease, a serious heart condition called sick sinus syndrome, a personal or family history of long QT syndrome (a heart rhythm disorder), congestive heart failure, or an electrolyte imbalance such as low levels of potassium or magnesium in the blood.

Common Side Effects

The most common side effects from Dolasetron are:


  • Chest pain
  • Discomfort
  • Arrhythmia (slow or irregular heartbeat)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

(Anzemet label reported by the FDA).


Less common side effects include:

  • Chills
  • Heart palpitations (fast, pounding or irregular heartbeats)
  • Decrease in the amount of urine
  • Fever
  • FDA Warnings

    In 2010, the FDA issued a new contraindication Anzemet, advising that the injection form should no longer be used for nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy. New information demonstrates that Anzemet injection can increase the risk of developing an abnormal heart rhythm and in can be fatal.


    Anzemet should not be used in patients with long QT syndrome. Anzemet may still be used in lower doses for the treatment of post-operative nausea and vomiting because the smaller doses used are less likely to affect electrical activity of the heart and result in abnormal heart rhythms.

    About Pharmacogenetic Testing

    Pharmacogenetics is a new study formed from the sequencing of the human genome. Genes are responsible for making the enzymes that metabolize any drugs you may take, including Anzemet. It turns out that there is variation among the population in these very genes that are responsible for how drugs are metabolized. Enzymes involved in drug metabolism may be altered resulting in not being able to take the drugs; doses may be increased or decreased from the common recommended dosage in order to provide safety and treatment efficacy.

    Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

    With state-of-the-art technology, the Rxight® test analyzes 18 genes on 60 alleles. Rxight® genetic testing gives you and your provider knowledge about how medications and dosages will affect your body. In this way, precision medicine can be brought to your specific care by testing your ability to metabolize over 200 drugs and over-the-counter medications with one simple test.


    Learn more about Rxight® by calling us at 1-888-888-1932 or sending us an email at support@Rxight.com.


    Contributors to this Article:
    Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

    Read more about Rxight® : What is Pharmacogenetics?