Ondansetron is widely used for the prophylaxis of postoperative nausea and vomiting, while haloperidol is an antiemetic that lacks recent data on efficacy and adverse effects.
In this prospective, randomized, double-blinded study involving 93 females undergoing gynaecological procedures under general anaesthesia, we compared the efficacy and adverse effects of prophylactic haloperidol 1 mg intravenous and ondansetron 4 mg intravenous vs. placebo.
During the overall observation period (0-24 h), in the haloperidol, ondansetron and placebo groups respectively, the incidence of nausea and/or vomiting was 40.7% (11/27), 48.2% (13/27) and 55.5% (15/27), and the need of rescue antiemetics was 22.2% (6/27), 44.4% (12/27) and 40.7% (11/27), with P values >0.05 among the three groups. During the early observation period (0-2 h), in the haloperidol, ondansetron and placebo groups respectively, the incidence of nausea and/or vomiting was 13.7% (4/29), 26.6% (8/30) and 43% (13/30), and the need for rescue antiemetics was 6.8% (2/29), 26.6% (8/30) and 36.6% (11/30). Between haloperidol and placebo groups, the P value was 0.04 for nausea and/or vomiting, and was 0.01 for rescue antiemetics, in addition to lower nausea scores (P = 0.03). During the late observation period (2-24 h), no significant difference was shown among the three groups.
The prophylactic administration of 1 mg intravenous haloperidol or 4 mg ondansetron, in female patients undergoing gynaecological surgery, did not improve the overall incidence of nausea and/or vomiting vs. placebo. However, haloperidol 1 mg proved to be an effective antiemetic in the early observation period without significant adverse effects.