One of the primary adverse events associated with chemotherapy is chemotherapy-induced acute nausea and vomiting (CINV). If left untreated, CINV can greatly affect the quality-of-life for patients with cancer. It can lead to dehydration, discomfort, irritability, and in some cases, interruption of treatment.
Despite the ubiquitous nature of CINV in patients treated with chemotherapy, few successful interventions currently exist. One study put the effective control rate for adults with CINV at approximately 20%.
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) has been shown to alleviate CINV in animals, but the clinical implications are unclear. To synthesize the current available literature, Wen P. Chang, PhD, performed a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials and published the findings in Cancer Nursing.
The analysis was performed on all English-language studies published from 2000-2017 in a database search for studies following PICOS framework using relevant search terms. The study further divided the analysis into subgroups of acute (<24h after treatment) versus delayed (>24h after treatment) nausea and vomiting.
Results of the analysis showed that ginger reduces acute CINV, especially vomiting (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37–0.94; P = .025). (OR, 0.58; 95% CI, 0.37–0.94; P = .025). It was not helpful, however, in controlling delayed CINV.
Dr. Chang and co-author Yu X. Peng, SN, concluded, “Based on our findings and the other relevant studies, ginger is not a complete alternative for antiemetic drugs; however, a suitable dosage could collaborate to alleviate nausea and vomiting without the adverse effects of antiemetic drugs. For example, metoclopramide causes focal dystonia and restlessness, and antihistamines can cause dry mouth, fatigue, and drowsiness. Thus, clinical applications could be feasible, but more empirical research is required.”
Evaluate the effects of implementing the multinational association of supportive care in cancer (MASCC) antiemetic guideline on the incidence of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) following Platinum chemotherapy.
Does the oral administration of ginger reduce chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting?: a meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials.