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Cancer Treatment Centers of America

Aprepitant (Emend®)


Brand Names: Emend, Emend 2-Day, Emend 3-Day

Aprepitant is used to help prevent nausea and vomiting that can sometimes follow chemotherapy treatment. For patients receiving chemotherapy, nausea and vomiting may occur within the 24 hours immediately following treatment (acute), or several days later (delayed). Given in combination with other medications, aprepitant may prevent both acute and delayed nausea and vomiting. Aprepitant is not used to treat nausea and vomiting once they have already begun.

Aprepitant belongs to a class of drugs called antiemetics, and works by blocking a substance in the brain called neurokinin, which causes nausea and vomiting.

This medication is taken as a capsule by mouth, usually once daily, with or without food, during the first few days of chemotherapy treatment. Aprepitant is usually taken only during the first three days of chemotherapy, and should not be taken for longer than instructed by a doctor.

Aprepitant may also be prescribed to prevent nausea and vomiting following surgery. In this setting, the medication is usually taken as a single dose, on its own, about 3 hours before surgery.

Aprepitant side effects

To prevent problematic interactions between aprepitant and other drugs, be sure to tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medications, and what other medications and supplements you are currently taking. You should also inform your doctor if you have or ever had liver disease, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, or if you are breastfeeding. Aprepitant should not be taken during breastfeeding.

Possible side effects of aprepitant include:

  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Hiccups
  • Fever (more common when taken before surgery)
  • Itch (more common when taken before surgery)

Call your doctor if you experience these or any other unusual symptoms while taking aprepitant.

Rarely, aprepitant may cause a serious allergic reaction. If you experience hives, a rash, itching, or trouble breathing or swallowing after taking aprepitant, call your doctor immediately.

Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. Patients may experience additional effects not mentioned above.

At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), your team of cancer experts will explain each of the side effects of aprepitant with you in detail, as well as the side effects and expectations of all other medications planned as part of your individualized treatment plan.

Aprepitant for cancer treatment

Because aprepitant is used either by itself to prevent nausea and vomiting after surgery or in conjunction with other medications to prevent nausea and vomiting after chemotherapy, it may be part of a treatment plan for many different types of cancer.

At CTCA, our integrative approach to cancer treatment works to fight your disease on all fronts and ensures that you remain at the center of everything we do. We encourage participation from both you and your family to make certain you are comfortable with all decisions made regarding your treatment.


The information provided here is for educational purposes only. In no way should it be considered as offering medical advice. Cancer Treatment Centers of America assumes no responsibility for how this material is used. Please check with a physician if you suspect you are ill. Also note that while Cancer Treatment Centers of America frequently updates its contents, medical information changes rapidly. Therefore, some information may be out of date.