New Drug for Chemotherapy Induced Vomiting and Nausea Was Approved by FDA

Varubi also named as rolapitant, gained approval from FDA. And it’s said the drug went into its third phase clinical trial. Till now about 2800 patients have involved in the trial.

There are three types of side effects following chemotherapy for cancer patients in time, anticipatory, acute side effects and delayed phase side effects. Anticipatory means the feeling of being nauseous before the chemo; acute side effects appear in 24 hours after the treatment and delayed phase generally happens up to a week and last for days. Varubi is for the delayed phase side effects of chemotherapy.

Varubi was tested in the trial under a comparison with another two commonly used chemicals for nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, granisetron and dexamethasonef. Results showed that varubi was more effective among the three in delayed side symptoms.


By the application of varubi, the frequency of vomiting was decreased to a great level, as well as the risk for adverse situation where rescue measures were needed for the serious side effects. But how about the side effects of the drug itself? It was reported that side effects of varubi are followed by low white blood cell level, appetite losing for food and dizziness, which is much easier to be tolerated than long lasting of delayed phase side effects after chemotherapy.

How does varubi work to achieve the improvement in delayed phase side effects?
Nerve centers both in brain and digestive system will be triggered after receiving chemotherapy, which will lead to an active performance of vomiting reflex pathway, as a result vomiting appears. Varubi functions by blocking the receptor in reflex pathway and then hinder the nerve information transmission. Finally the frequency of vomiting is decreased. Besides as a human Neurokinin-1 receptor antagonist, varubi can block the neurokinin 1 receptor, one of the main reasons for the delayed phase nausea and vomiting.

However, varubi can also block the activities of an enzyme, CYP2D6. Thus varubi can’t be co-taken with drugs that involving CYP2D6 to play a role in medication, or over density of a certain drug will appear in the body.

It’s said about 70-80% cancer patients who received chemotherapy will suffer from nausea and vomiting, which would cause long lasing tiredness, slow wound healing, making the condition much worse and possibly leading to a negative attitude toward life. Varubi provides such patients with an alternative to treat the hardly bearable delayed phase side effects after chemo, and more significantly, provides the patients in such situation hope for recovery.