A comparison of the costs and efficacy of ondansetron versus dolasetron for antiemetic prophylaxis

Eduardo Zarate, Mehernoor F. Watcha, Paul F. White, Kevin W. Klein, Monica Sa Rego, D. Greg Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


The optimal dose and timing of 5-HT3 antagonist administration for prophylaxis against postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) remains controversial. Although 5-HT3 antagonists seem to be most effective when administered near the end of surgery, there are no data on the comparative efficacy or costs associated with the 5-HT3 antagonists dolasetron and ondansetron when administered at the end of the operation. In this double- blinded study, 200 outpatients undergoing otolaryngologic procedures with a standardized general anesthetic received 4 (O4) or 8 mg (O8) of ondansetron or 12.5 (D12.5) or 25 mg (D25) of dolasetron IV within 30 min before the end of surgery. A blinded observer recorded the emetic episodes, maximum nausea score, recovery room resource and drug use, nursing time spent managing PONV, times to achieve discharge criteria from the Phase 1 and 2 recovery units, postdischarge emesis, and patient satisfaction. Total costs were calculated by using the perspective of a free-standing surgicenter. There were no differences in patient demographics, incidence of PONV, need for rescue medications, time spent in the recovery areas, unanticipated hospital admissions, or patient satisfaction among the four treatment groups. The mean total costs (95% confidence intervals) to prevent PONV in one patient were lowest in the D12.5 group: $23.89 (17.18-28.79) vs $37.81 (30.29-45.32), $33.91 (28.92-39.35), and $75.18 (61.13-89.24) for D25, 04, and O8, respectively. Excluding nursing labor costs did not alter this finding: $18.51 (14.18-22.85), $34.77 (28.03-41.49), $31.77 (28.9239.35), and $71.76 (58.17-85.35) for D12.5, D25, O4, and 08, respectively. We conclude that 12.5 mg of dolasetron IV is more cost effective than 4 mg of ondansetron IV for preventing PONV after otolaryngologic surgery and is associated with similar patient satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1352-1358
Number of pages7
JournalAnesthesia and analgesia
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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