Dreaded Nausea

One symptom that is dreaded by both patients and physicians is nausea.  A helpful review on this topic (K Kovacic, C DiLorenzo. JPGN 2016; 62: 365-71) provides information on functional nausea.  A few points:


  • Endoscopy has low yield.  One cited study suggested that in the absence of clinical alarm symptoms, 98% of endoscopies were normal.
  • 4-hour nuclear medicine study ‘may be justified.’

Therapeutic: Numerous drug/alternative therapies are discussed -most with a paucity of data.  These include:

  • Alternatives agents: Ginger, STW5 (iberogast), peppermint oil
  • Antiemetics: Ondansetron, promethazine, prochlorperazine
  • TCAs: amitriptyline, nortriptyline, imipramine, doxepin
  • SSRIs: citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine
  • Anxiolytics: buspirone
  • Tetracyclic antidepressant: mirtazapine
  • Antimigraine: cyprohepatadine, propranolol, topiramate, levetiracetam
  • Prokinetics: erythromycin, metoclopropramide, domperidone
  • Others: fludrocortisone, aprepitant, cannabionids
  • Psychology: “early involvement of a psychologist and emphasis on coping strategies and maintaining functioning with continued school attendance is a primary goal.”

The authors note that retrospective data in children suggest that TCAs have a response rate of ~50% (defined as more than a 50% improvement).  In one study, the mean dose of amitriptyline was 50 mg at bedtime.

In a related study, Madani et al (JPGN 2016; 62: 409-13) describe their experience (retrospective review) using cyproheptadine in children with a range of functional gastrointestinal disorders.  The most common indications were functional abdominal pain (36%), functional dyspepsia (23%), combination disorder (17%) and abdominal migraines (12%).  Overall, they included 151 children and they report 110 (72.8%) had complete symptom improvement; the remainder had either partial or no improvement.  In those who responded, the mean initial dose was 0.14 mg/kg/day; the final mean dose was nearly identical. Adverse effects of sleepiness was reported in 13% and weight gain in 10%.

Related posts:

Link: Impressive “water swallowing” NEJM video (thanks to Jose Garza for sharing).  In a person who had undergone an esophagogastric bypass as a child.  Still photo below:

NEJM Chest

3 thoughts on “Dreaded Nausea

  1. Pingback: Advice on Abdominal Pain for Everyone Who Cares for Children | gutsandgrowth

  2. Pingback: Dreaded Nausea (2017) | gutsandgrowth

  3. Pingback: Faulty Narrative with Functional Nausea Study | gutsandgrowth

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