Zofran (Ondansetron)

What is Ondansetron?

Ondansetron is a prescription drug. It comes in four forms that you take by mouth: a tablet, a disintegrating tablet, a solution, and a film. It’s also available in an intravenous (IV) form, which is only given by a healthcare provider.

Ondansetron orally disintegrating tablet is available as the brand-name drug Zofran ODT. It’s also available as a generic drug. Generic drugs usually cost less than the brand-name version. In some cases, they may not be available in every strength or form as the brand-name drug. 

Ondansetron may be used as part of a combination therapy. This means you may need to take it with other medications.

Why it's used

Ondansetron orally disintegrating tablet is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by certain medical treatments. These treatments include:

How it works

Ondansetron belongs to a class of drugs called antiemetics. A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions. Antiemetics are drugs that reduce nausea and vomiting.

Ondansetron works by blocking the release of the chemical serotonin in the gut and the central nervous system. This keeps serotonin from causing nausea and vomiting.

Ondansetron side effects

Ondansetron orally disintegrating tablet may cause drowsiness. It can also cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects of ondansetron can include:

  • headache

  • diarrhea

  • constipation

  • dizziness

  • drowsiness

If these effects are mild, they may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. If they’re more severe or don’t go away, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following: 

  • Serotonin syndrome. Symptoms can include:

    • agitation

    • hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t real)

    • rapid heartbeat

    • sweating

    • feeling hot

    • muscle rigidity (stiffness)

    • tremor

    • nausea

    • vomiting

    • diarrhea

    • coma

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

 

Ondansetron may interact with other medications

Ondansetron orally disintegrating tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with ondansetron are listed below.

Drugs you should not use with ondansetron

Do not take these drugs with ondansetron. Doing so can cause dangerous effects in your body. Examples of these drugs include:

  • Apomorphine. Taking this drug with ondansetron can cause your blood pressure to drop to unsafe levels. This can cause you to pass out.

Interactions that increase your risk of side effects from ondansetron

Taking ondansetron with certain medications raises your risk of side effects from ondansetron. This is because the amount of ondansetron in your body may be increased. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • Other drugs that affect serotonin levels, such as fluoxetine and paroxetine.

Interactions that can make ondansetron less effective

Taking these drugs with ondansetron can make ondansetron less effective. This is because the amount of ondansetron in your body may be decreased. Examples of these drugs include: 

  • Anti-seizure drugs, such as phenytoin or carbamazepine. Your doctor may switch you from ondansetron to a different drug if needed.

  • Tuberculosis drugs, such as rifampin, rifabutin, or rifapentine. Your doctor may switch you from ondansetron to a different drug if needed.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we cannot guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

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