Long-Term Daily Administration of Aprepitant for the Management of Intractable Nausea and Vomiting in Children with Life-Limiting Conditions: a Case Series

Patel, B.; Downie, J.; Bayliss, J.; Stephenson, A.; Bluebond-Langner, M.

Journal of Pain and Symptom Management 62(3): E225-E231


ISSN/ISBN: 1873-6513
PMID: 33587995
DOI: 10.1016/j.jpainsymman.2021.02.007
Accession: 079105418

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Nausea and vomiting is a common symptom in children through their end of life journey. Aprepitant, a NK-1 antagonist, has become a potent weapon in the fight against chemo-induced nausea and vomiting. However, its use in palliative care for refractory nausea and vomiting has been limited due to limited experience or evidence of continuous use. Emerging evidence suggests that continuous use is not only safe, but also effective in patients with nausea and vomiting refractory to multiple lines of antiemetic therapy. We conducted a single centre retrospective chart review of children receiving care from a specialist palliative care team who were given continuous daily aprepitant for nausea and vomiting and were unresponsive to at least two prior lines of antiemetic therapy. Parental reports of the impact of nausea on mobility and feeding were used as proxy efficacy markers. Duration of effect and toxicity was also evaluated. Ten children (eight with cancer as a primary diagnosis and two with noncancer diagnoses) received continuous aprepitant and all showed resolution of nausea and vomiting and an increased ability to mobilize and tolerate feeds. No adverse events noted. Our review suggests a role for aprepitant in management of refractory nausea and vomiting, demonstrating safety and efficacy. This case series is the first report of aprepitant use in this manner in the paediatric palliative care setting.