This study evaluates the prophylactic anti-emetic efficacy of granisetron, droperidol and metoclopramide, for the prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting in female patients undergoing elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The patients were randomly assigned to one of four groups (n = 30 for each group): granisetron 3 mg, droperidol 1.25 mg, metoclopramide 10 mg and placebo (saline). These medications were given immediately before the induction of anaesthesia. During the first 24 h after anaesthesia, the incidence of post-operative nausea and vomiting was 13, 30, 33 and 37% after administration of granisetron, droperidol, metoclopramide and placebo, respectively (P < 0.05, overall Fisher's exact probability test). No clinically important adverse effects were observed in either group. Our results suggest that granisetron is a better anti-emetic than droperidol or metoclopramide for the prevention of post-operative nausea and vomiting after laparoscopic cholecystectomy when compared with a placebo.