A Randomized, Double-blinded Comparison of Ondansetron, Granisetron, and Placebo for Prevention of Postoperative Nausea and Vomiting After Supratentorial Craniotomy

Journal of Neurosurgical Anesthesiology: July 2009 – Volume 21 – Issue 3 – pp 226-230. doi: 10.1097/ANA.0b013e3181a7beaa

Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are frequent and distressing complications after neurosurgical procedures. We evaluated the efficacy of ondansetron and granisetron to prevent PONV after supratentorial craniotomy. In a randomized double-blind, placebo controlled trial, 90 adult American Society of Anesthesiologists I, II patients were included in the study. A standard anesthesia technique was followed. Patients were divided into 3 groups to receive either placebo (saline), ondansetron 4 mg, or granisetron 1 mg intravenously at the time of dural closure. After extubation, episodes of nausea and vomiting were noted for 24 hours postoperatively. Statistical analysis was performed using χ2 test and 1-way analysis of variance. Demographic data, duration of surgery, intraoperative fluids and analgesic requirement, and postoperative pain (visual analog scale) scores were comparable in all 3 groups. It was observed that the incidence of vomiting in 24 hours, severe emetic episodes, and requirement of rescue antiemetics were less in ondansetron and granisetron groups as compared with placebo (P<0.001). Both the study drugs had comparable effect on vomiting. However, the incidence of nausea was comparable in all 3 groups (P=0.46). A favorable influence on the patient satisfaction scores, and number needed to prevent emesis was seen in the 2 drug groups. No significant correlation was found between neurosurgical factors (presence of midline shift, mass effect, pathologic diagnosis of tumor, site of tumor) and the occurrence of PONV. We conclude that ondansetron 4 mg and granisetron 1 mg are comparably effective at preventing emesis after supratentorial craniotomy. However, neither drugs prevented nausea effectively.