Kytril

Kytril prevents nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy and radiation. Can also be given to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery.

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Pharmacist Trey Robinson, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the 5HT3 blockers class of medications
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Pharmacist Trey Robinson, PharmD summarizes the uses, common side effects, and warnings for the Antiemetics class of medications

Kytril Overview

Updated: 

Kytril is a prescription medication used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. Kytril belongs to a group of drugs called serotonin 5-HT3 antagonists, which block serotonin, a natural chemical in the body, from causing nausea and vomiting.

This medication comes as an oral (by mouth) solution, oral tablet, and injection. 

The tablet and solution are usually taken once or twice a day. The injection is injected into the vein by a healthcare provider.

Common side effects of the injectable form when used for chemotherapy include headache and constipation and when used for surgery include pain, headache, and fever. Common side effects of the oral forms include headache, constipation, and lack of energy. 

Kytril can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how it affects you.

The brand Kytril is no longer available, but the generic granisetron is available. 

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Uses of Kytril

Oral:

Kytril as a solution or tablet is used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy and radiation therapy. 

Injectable:

The injectable form is used to prevent nausea and vomiting related to chemotherapy and surgery.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Manufacturer

Kytril Drug Class

Kytril is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Kytril

Kytril can cause serious side effects. See "Drug Precautions" section.

Oral:

Common side effects include:

  • headache
  • constipation
  • lack of energy
  • diarrhea
  • stomach (abdomen) pain
  • indigestion

Injectable:

Common side effects when used for chemotherapy include:

  • headache
  • constipation
  • lack of energy
  • drowsiness
  • diarrhea

Common side effects when used for surgery include:

  • pain
  • constipation
  • condition of low blood cell count (anemia)
  • headache
  • fever
  • abdominal pain
  • increase in liver tests
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • slow heart rate
  • dizziness
  • increase in white blood cells
  • anxiety
  • low blood pressure
  • diarrhea
  • gassy
  • infection
  • indigestion
  • high blood pressure
  • bladder infection
  • low urine output
  • coughing

This is not a complete list of Kytril side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Kytril Interactions

No drug interactions have been listed by the manufacturer. However, you should tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Not all drug interactions are known or reported and new drug interactions are continually being reported.

However, Kytril can theoretically interact with some medications. Especially tell your doctor if you take:

  • medications that block a protein in the body (CYPA4) such as some macrolide antibiotics (clarithromycin, telithromycin), some HIV protease inhibitors (indinavir, nelfinavir, ritonavir, saquinavir), some HCV protease inhibitors (boceprevir, telaprevir), some azole antifungals (ketoconazole, itraconazole, posaconazole, voriconazole), conivaptan (Vaprisol), delavirdine (Rescriptor), and nefazodone
  • medications that increase the activity of the enzyme CYP3A4 such as carbamazepine (Tegretol, Equetro, Carbatrol), phenobarbital, phenytoin (Dilantin), rifampin, St John's wort, and nimodipine (Nimotop)
This is not a complete list of Kytril drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Kytril Precautions

Serious side effects have been reported with Kytril including:

  • severe allergic reactions. Hypersensitivity (allergic) reactions have been reported in patients who are allergic to other selective 5-HT3 receptor antagonists.
  • masking symptoms of intestinal blockage. Using Kytril after stomach surgery or chemotherapy may mask the symptoms of an intestinal blockage (abdominal ileus). Kytril is not intended to drain the contents of the stomach. 
  • Benzyl alcohol, a component of Kytril 1 mg/mL (an injectable form of Kytril) has been associated with serious adverse reactions and death, particularly in newborn babies (neonates).

Do not take Kytril if you:

  • are allergic to Kytril or any inactive ingredient in Kytril
  • have long QT syndrome (condition that increases the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat that may cause fainting or sudden death)

Kytril can cause drowsiness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Kytril affects you.

Kytril Food Interactions

Medications can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of Kytril, there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving this medication.

Inform MD

Before taking Kytril, tell your doctor about all of your medical conditions. Especially tell your doctor if you:

  • or anyone in your family has or has ever had long QT syndrome (condition that increases the risk of developing an irregular heartbeat that may cause fainting or sudden death)
  • have heart disease
  • have liver disease
  • have an electrolyte imbalance
  • are pregnant or breastfeeding

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Kytril and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Kytril falls into category B. There are no good studies that have been done in humans with Kytril. But in animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

Kytril and Lactation

It is not known if Kytril crosses into human milk. Because many medications can cross into human milk and because of the possibility for serious adverse reactions in nursing infants with use of this medication, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or stop the use of this medication. Your doctor and you will decide if the benefits outweigh the risk of using Kytril.

Kytril Usage

  • Take Kytril exactly as prescribed.
  • Kytril comes in solution, tablet, and injectable forms.
  • The oral forms are usually taken one hour before cancer chemotherapy or radiation. They can be taken twice daily if used for cancer chemotherapy.
  • The injectable form of Kytril can be given into the vein by a healthcare provider. 

Kytril Dosage

Take Kytril exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.

Oral:

Cancer Chemotherapy

The recommended Kytril dose for the prevention of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy is 2 mg once daily or 1 mg twice daily. Kytril should be given 1 hour before chemotherapy (and 12 hours later, when taken twice a day). Kytril should only be given on days when chemotherapy is received. 
 
Radiation
 
The recommended dosage for prevention of surgery nausea and vomiting is two 1 mg tablets or 10 ml of solution of Kytril taken within 1 hour of radiation.

Injectable:

Cancer Chemotherapy

The recommended Kytril injection dose for the prevention of nausea and vomiting due to chemotherapy is 10 mcg/kg administered through a vein (IV) within 30 minutes before starting chemotherapy. Kytril is only given on days when chemotherapy is given. 
 
Surgery
 
The recommended dosage for prevention of surgery nausea and vomiting is 1 mg of Kytril, injected into a vein (IV) over 30 seconds, before starting pain relief (anesthesia) or immediately before reversal of pain relief (anesthesia). 
 
The recommended dosage for the treatment of nausea and/or vomiting after surgery is 1 mg of Kytril, injected into a vein (IV) over 30 seconds. 

Kytril Overdose

If you take too much Kytril, call your healthcare provider or local Poison Control Center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

If Kytril is administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, it is unlikely that an overdose will occur. However, if overdose is suspected, seek emergency medical attention. 

Other Requirements

  • Store Kytril between 15º and 30ºC (59º and 86ºF). Keep container closed tightly and stored in upright position. Protect from light.
  • Keep this and all medications out of the reach of children.