The need-to-know information for Ondansetron (Zofran)


Pearls and Fun Nuggets

1. It’s potential was initially held back 👊 Although an effective antiemetic agent, the high cost of brand-name ondansetron initially limited its use to controlling postoperative nausea and vomiting and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.[10]

2. EDs love it ❤ Trials in emergency department settings support the use of ondansetron to reduce vomiting associated with gastroenteritis and dehydration.[16] A retrospective review found it was used commonly for this purpose, being administered in over 58% of cases.

3. It can cause heart arrhythmias 💔 Use of ondansetron has been associated with prolongation of the QT interval, which can lead to a potentially fatal heart rhythm known as torsades de pointes. Although this may happen in any person with any formulation, the risk is most salient with the injectable (intravenous) form of the drug and increases with dose (should not do more than 16mg at one time).

4. It might be able to help treat schizophrenia 💊A 2006 double-blindrandomized controlled trial indicated ondansetron may have value in the treatment of schizophrenia, as an adjunct to haloperidol. The study found the combination to significantly improve negative schizophrenia symptoms, and people taking both drugs experienced fewer of the adverse effects commonly associated with haloperidol.[31]

5. Headache is the most common adverse effect 😧 A review of use for post-operative nausea and vomiting found that for every 36 people treated, one would experience headache, which could be severe.[19]

Patient Perspectives

“Best. Thing. EVER. I have lived with the irrational fear of throwing up my entire life. Thank the Lord for my doctor, who told me about Zofran when I wasn’t feeling well for days. Works within 15-30 minutes. Takes away the nausea completely. I will always carry these white dissolvable pills around with me.”


“Zofran is a LIFESAVER! I’ve been dealing with debilitating constant nausea for months and some days this pill is the only thing that makes me able to eat. I’ve experienced very few side effects, if any, and am so grateful for the relief from nausea. I cannot say enough good things about zofran or recommend it highly enough.”


“I’ve taken ondansetron for nausea related to Crohn’s disease it only works for my nausea about 20% of the time, but causes a horrible side effect of headache 90% of the time. I only take it if I have tried everything else.”

Brandon Simpson, PA-C
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