FDA Approves Varubi (Rolapitant) to Treat Nausea and Vomiting

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new drug to help prevent nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy. Varubi (rolapitant) can be prescribed to adults in combination with other anti-nausea drugs. It helps prevent delayed phase nausea and vomiting, which happens from 24 hours to 5 days after the chemotherapy was given.

Nausea and vomiting are common side effects for cancer patients getting chemotherapy treatments, but there are many drugs to help prevent and treat it. Aside from being unpleasant, untreated nausea and vomiting can lead to weight loss, dehydration, and malnutrition, which can have serious complications for cancer patients.

The FDA based its approval on 3 clinical trials of 2,800 people who were receiving types of chemotherapy that have a high rate of nausea and vomiting as side effects. Some of the participants were given Varubi along with the anti-nausea drugs granisetron and dexamethasone. The other participants received a placebo (fake pill) along with granisetron and dexamethasone. The people who got Varubi had less of a problem with delayed phase vomiting than the people who got the placebo.

Varubi is a pill. It works by stopping the activity of the NK-1 receptor, a protein on cells in the brainstem that plays a role in nausea and vomiting.

The most common side effects from Varubi include a low white blood cell count (neutropenia), hiccups, decreased appetite, and dizziness. This drug should not be used with the drug thioridazine, because the combination could lead to an irregular heartbeat.

Varubi is marketed by Tesaro Inc.

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