NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Caring for Adolescents and Young Adults
Part 6: Coping with side effects
Your doctor or oncology nurse should give you a pretty
complete picture of the side effects you may experience
and what can be done to prevent or relieve them. The
questions below can serve as a guideline to help you fill
in any gaps.
What side effects should I expect during
When are they likely to occur?
How long could they last?
Are there any medications that can prevent or relieve
these side effects?
Is there anything I can do (other than medication) to
prevent or relieve these side effects?
Are there any complementary treatments that have
been shown to help with the side effects of this
treatment? Can you refer me to a person or place
that offers these treatments?
Are there any particular activities I should do—
or avoid—to take care of myself while on this
When should I call the doctor about my side effects?
If the side effects cause too many problems, can
I take a break from treatment? Can the dose be
lowered? Is there a different treatment we could try?
Are there any long-term effects associated with
Is there anything that can be done to prevent or
reduce the risk of long-term side effects?
Questions to ask your team about:
Medications that can prevent “puke now” signals
from reaching the CTZ include ondansetron
(Zofran), granisetron (Kytril), dolasetron (Anzemet),
prochlorperazine (Compazine), promethazine
(Phenergan), metoclopramide (Reglan), and aprepitant
(Emend). When given before chemotherapy—either by
mouth or in a vein—these drugs may prevent nausea for
up to 24 hours. Another option, palonosetron (Aloxi), is
given intravenously and can work for up to five days. Other
medications that can help prevent or ease nausea include:
Steroids such as dexamethasone (Decadron and
Tranquilizers such as lorazepam (Ativan),
Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl),
If medications don’t seem to be working, you might
want to consider asking your oncologist to prescribe