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New Drug Patch Eases Chemotherapy

About one million people undergo chemotherapy every year, and for more than half of them, nausea and vomiting are common and debilitating side effects. In some patients, symptoms can be severe, interrupting treatment and even threatening their lives. Now a new FDA-approved patch is available to prevent these intestinal ailments while helping chemo patients maintain strength and hydration.

Applied to the upper arm 24-48 hours before chemotherapy begins, the Sancuso patch prevents nausea and vomiting for up to five consecutive days through a slow and continuous release of the medication granisetron. The medication is well tolerated, although some patients experience constipation.

Anti-nausea medications are typically provided intravenously in the hospital or doctor's office during chemotherapy or orally if the patient develops nausea after treatment. The new patch is as effective but more convenient, because it can be applied by the patient at home before treatment. It is also a better remedy for patients who have difficulty swallowing.