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A RCT of Ondansetron and Promethazine in the Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting in the Emergency Department

Information source: University of New Mexico
ClinicalTrials.gov processed this data on August 23, 2015
Link to the current ClinicalTrials.gov record.

Condition(s) targeted: Nausea; Vomiting

Intervention: Ondansetron (Drug); promethazine (Drug)

Phase: Phase 4

Status: Completed

Sponsored by: University of New Mexico

Official(s) and/or principal investigator(s):
Darren A Braude, MD, MPH, Principal Investigator, Affiliation: University of New Mexico


This was a trial comparing two commonly used medications for nausea and vomiting, ondansetron and promethazine, in the Emergency Department.

Clinical Details

Official title: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Ondansetron and Promethazine in the Treatment of Nausea and Vomiting in the Emergency Department

Study design: Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Safety/Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double-Blind, Primary Purpose: Treatment

Primary outcome: Reduction in nausea on a VAS.

Secondary outcome:

Change in sedation on a VAS

Change in anxiety on a VAS

Need for rescue medication at 30 minutes

Patient satisfaction at follow-up

Detailed description: Nausea and vomiting are common complaints in the emergency department (ED). There are many pharmacologic agents used for the treatment of these complaints. None are new nor experimental. Very little research has been done in the ED setting to determine which of these agents is most effective with the least adverse effects. Our own previous research found that droperidol but not prochlorperazine and metoclopramide is more effective than placebo. Because of the recent FDA black box warning added to droperidol, the use of this agent has suddenly ceased in many EDs. Promethazine remains a very commonly used antiemetic in many EDs but one recent study found it less effective than prochlorperazine which was in turn found no more effective than placebo in our own study. As a result many physicians have turned to ondansetron, a newer and more expensive agent. Experience among anesthesiologists and oncologists has shown ondansetron to be highly effective with a minimum of adverse effects. These patient populations, however, are very different from those found in the ED. It is our hypothesis that promethazine and ondansetron are equally effective for the ED treatment of unselected patients with nausea and vomiting with similar rates of adverse effects.


Minimum age: 18 Years. Maximum age: N/A. Gender(s): Both.


Inclusion Criteria:

- Age 18 or older

- Chief complaint of nausea or vomiting

Exclusion Criteria:

- Age less than 18

- unable to provide informed consent

- rate nausea at < 40 mm on 100 mm VAS

- received antiemetic within 24 hours

- pregnant or possibly pregnant

- reported allergy to either study medication

- received more than 1 liter of intravenous fluids

- their primary ED physician declined to have patient participate

Locations and Contacts

University of New Mexico Hospital Emergency Department, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, United States
Additional Information

Starting date: October 2003
Last updated: January 31, 2007

Page last updated: August 23, 2015

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