Zofran (ondansetron) is used to prevent nausea and vomiting in patients who have received chemotherapy cancer treatment, radiation therapy, or who have just had surgery. Zofran works to curb the natural substance called serotonin, which is a chemical in the body that can trigger nausea and vomiting. According to the FDA, Zofran has not been approved for preventing nausea or vomiting that is caused by factors other than cancer treatment or surgery.
Zofran is an anti-nausea medication which can be administered 30 minutes before the start of emetogenic chemotherapy, with a subsequent dose 8 hours after the first dose. It can be given to adults and pediatric patients age 4 and older, although the pediatric dosage is lower. Ondansetron, marketed under the name Zofran, belongs to the class of medications called 5-HT3 receptor antagonists. Zofran reduces vomiting and nausea by reducing the effects of a naturally-occurring chemical in the body called serotonin. The medication Ondansetron is currently sold under several generic brands and has been approved by the FDA. Drugs which may be equivalent to Zofran ODT are sold by BARR, Glenmark Generics, Mylan, Ranbaxy, Sandoz, Sun Pharm Industries, and Teva. Other less reputable pharmacies may also sell illegal generic versions of Zofran ODT. Medical experts warn about buying certain medications because they can be counterfeit and potentially unsafe.
Zofran was introduced in the mid-1980s by GlaxoSmithKline and received a United States patent in 1987. In 1991 the drug received FDA approval to be sold in the United States. Its patent expired in 2006 at which time it was considered one of the 20th highest selling brand drugs in the United States with billions of dollars in drug sales. Generic brand medications entered the market in 2006 and were first marketed and sold by Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and SICOR Pharmaceuticals.
Zofran, invented in the early 1980s in England by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), was sold in the United States exclusively until 2006 when the patent expired. The drug generated billions of dollars in sales for fifteen years, ranking as one of the 20th highest selling name brand drugs in the United States. In fact, it was the most frequently prescribed medication in the United States to prevent vomiting. It is also estimated that a majority of cancer patients receive this medication or one similar to prevent nausea and vomiting. Prior to the patent expiration, it was estimated that the annual US sales of Zofran ODT were approximately $225 million per year. In 2007, Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and SICOR Pharmaceuticals were the first companies to begin selling generic versions of the drug.
Zofran helps reduce the incidence of vomiting and nausea by blocking the actions of certain chemicals in the body. Specifically, Zofran is a serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. Part of the success of the drug is its ability to reduce the activity of the vagus nerve, which activates the vomiting center in the medulla oblongata.
Ondansetron hydrochloride (HCl) is the active ingredient in Zofran and it acts as selective blocking agent of the serotonin 5-HT3 receptor type. Clinical studies indicate Zofran can successfully prevent postoperative nausea and/or vomiting. According to research, Zofran is “not recommended for patients in whom there is little expectation that nausea and/or vomiting will occur postoperatively.” But for patients where nausea and/or vomiting must be avoided postoperatively, “ZOFRAN Tablets, ZOFRAN ODT Orally Disintegrating Tablets, and ZOFRAN Oral Solution are recommended even where the incidence of postoperative nausea and/or vomiting is low.” Zofran has also been shown to be effective for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with highly emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, with initial and repeat courses of moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy, and for patients receiving either total body irradiation, single high-dose fraction to the abdomen, or daily fractions to the abdomen.