REVIEW Palonosetron is a selective serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. The antiemetic activity of the drug is brought about through the inhibition of 5-HT3 receptors present both centrally (medullary chemoreceptor zone) and peripherally (GI tract). This inhibition of 5-HT3 receptors in turn inhibits the visceral afferent stimulation of the vomiting center, likely indirectly at the level of the area postrema, as well as through direct inhibition of serotonin activity within the area postrema and the chemoreceptor trigger zone. Alternative mechanisms appear to be primarily responsible for delayed nausea and vomiting induced by emetogenic chemotherapy, since similar temporal relationships between between serotonin and emesis beyond the first day after a dose have not been established, and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists generally have not appeared to be effective alone in preventing or ameliorating delayed effects. It has been hypothesized that palonosetron's potency and long plasma half-life may contribute to its observed efficacy in preventing delayed nausea and vomiting caused by moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy.
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