Ondansetron decreases postoperative vomiting in pediatric patients undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy

C. David Lawhorn, Charles Bower, Raeford E. Brown, Michael L. Schmitz, Patti J. Kymer, Jo Anne Stoner, J. Michael Vollers, Robert Shirey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


One of the most frequently performed pediatric surgical procedures is tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Nausea and vomiting and the inability to tolerate oral fluids lead to unplanned hospitalizations. Despite treatment with metoclopramide and droperidol, nausea and vomiting continue to be high after this procedure. We designed this investigation to compare currently utilized antiemetics to ondansetron, a new serotonin antagonist, in hopes of decreasing the occurrence of nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. This prospective, randomized, double-blinded clinical trial compared ondansetron, droperidol, and placebo administered at the induction of general anesthesia and the incidence of vomiting postoperatively. One-hundred sixty-five children between the ages of 2 and 12 years undergoing ambulatory adenotonsillectomy were enrolled and completed this investigation. The primary outcome measure was the elimination of vomiting during the 24-h investigative period following surgery. Both ondansetron and droperidol significantly lowered the incidence of postoperative emesis after tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy (P < 0.012) compared to placebo. Ondansetron was significantly more effective than droperidol in reducing emesis after discharge (P < 0.025). Both ondansetron and droperidol are effective in decreasing emesis when given before surgical incision in pediatric patients undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy. Ondansetron's antiemetic effect persists for up to 24 h following surgery with significant reductions in emesis. Ondansetron's effectiveness in eliminating vomiting without sedation or other side effects suggests that it should be considered as part of the standard management in pediatric patients undergoing tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Adenoidectomy
  • Droperidol
  • Ondansetron
  • Tonsillectomy
  • Vomiting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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