Volume 11 Issue 133
Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 25-May-2009 
Next Update - 14:00 UC 08:00 EST 26-May-2009

Editor: Susan K. Boyer, RN
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Ginger helps reduce nausea from chemotherapy

(25 May 2009: VIDYYA MEDICAL NEWS SERVICE) -- Ginger helped prevent or reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea when taken with traditional anti-nausea drugs by patients with cancer, researchers have found. The results are from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial, the largest study to examine the potential effects of ginger on chemotherapy-related nausea. The study will be presented May 30 at the ASCO annual meeting in Orlando, FL.

“We have found that ginger supplementation is an effective tool against chemotherapy-related nausea,” said lead investigator Dr. Julie Ryan of the University of Rochester Medical Center, who discussed the findings at a press briefing last week. All doses of ginger evaluated in the study significantly reduced nausea compared with placebo, she noted.

The trial, funded by NCI’s Community Clinical Oncology Program, included 644 patients, most of them women, who were receiving chemotherapy for breast, digestive, lung, or other cancers. These patients received a placebo or one of three doses of ginger (0.5 g, 1.0 g, or 1.5 g) for 6 days, including 3 days leading up to the first day of chemotherapy and 2 days after chemotherapy began. They also received traditional anti-nausea medications during the study. Patients rated their nausea four times per day on a scale of 1 to 7.

Each dose of ginger was more effective than the placebo at mitigating nausea. The most effective doses were either 0.5 g or 1.0 g, taken during the first day of chemotherapy. Effectiveness decreased linearly over a 24-hour period. The highest dose may not be as effective, the researchers speculated, because it is more than the maximum absorption dose for biological activity.

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