Gastrointestinal Tract Toxicity

The nausea and vomiting frequently observed after anticancer drug administration are actually thought to be caused by a stimulation of the vomiting center or chemoreceptor trigger zone in the central nervous system (CNS) rather than by a direct gastrointestinal effect. These symptoms are ameliorated by treatment with phenothiazines and other centrally acting antiemetics. Commonly, nausea begins 4 to 6 hours after treatment and lasts 1 or 2 days. Although this symptom is distressing to patients, it is rarely severe enough to require cessation of therapy. Anorexia and alterations in taste perception also may be associated with chemotherapy.

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