Chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting is problematic in paediatric brain tumour treatment protocols which often discourage the use of corticosteroids as anti-emetics. The dopamine receptor antagonist, metopimazine, is an effective anti-emetic in combination with ondansetron in adults. The present study was designed to assess its efficacy in children with cancer, a group in which it has not been studied previously.
We conducted a series of randomized, multiple-crossover, double-blind, placebo-controlled N-of-1 trials comparing ondansetron/metopimazine with ondansetron monotherapy in children with brain tumours receiving highly emetogenic therapy and combined the individual results using Bayesian statistical modeling.
Ten of twelve enrolled patients completed at least one chemotherapy cycle on study (median=2.5 cycles, range 1-11). Two patients were unable to complete any cycles, and a further three patients withdrew from the study prior to completing all cycles because of an inability to tolerate the taste of the study drug. Combination therapy increased the proportion of days during which patients had no emesis (overall odds ratio=1.52, 95% credible region=0.32-6.40, probability of odds ratio>1=72%), decreased the number of emetic episodes per day (overall rate ratio=0.67, 95% credible region=0.15-3.14, probability of rate ratio