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4.6.1 Drugs for the short-term treatment of nausea and vomiting

1st ChoiceProchlorperazine tablets 5mgShort-term use only

3mg tablets (buccal)

Reserve buccal tablets for active vomiting                                                                                                      


Domperidone tablets 10mg; suspension 1mg/ml


Max length of treatment 1 week - see restrictions below

Metoclopramide tablets 10mg; oral solution 5mg/5mlMax length of treatment 5 days - see restrictions below

Prescribing Notes

  • Metoclopramide is associated with neurological effects such as short-term extrapyramidal disorders and tardive dyskinesia. These side-effects usually occur in the young (especially girls and young women) and the very old; it is best avoided, if possible, in patients under 20 years old
  • Metoclopramide should only be prescribed for short-term use (up to 5 days) for prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting; radiotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; delayed (but not acute) chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting; and symptomatic treatment of nausea and vomiting, including that associated with acute migraine (where it may also be used to improve absorption of oral analgesics). For further information see MHRA here
  • Long-term metoclopramide and prochlorperazine may cause tardive dyskinesia in the elderly
  • Domperidone does not cross the blood brain barrier; it is less likely than metoclopramide and prochlorperazine to cause sedation or dystonic reactions
  • Domperidone is associated with a small risk of serious cardiac side effects. Its use is now restricted to the relief of symptoms of nausea and vomiting and the dosage and duration of use have been reduced. Treatment should generally only be given for up to one week. Domperidone is contraindicated in those with underlying cardiac conditions and other risk factors. Risks are higher in people older than 60 years. For further information see MHRA here
  • Note that cyclizine has potential for abuse

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