Two simple, drug-free treatments — aromatherapy and shots of a simple sugar solution — have been found to ease nausea and vomiting after surgery, according to new research.
The findings — published in the latest edition of Anesthesia & Analgesia, the journal of the International Anesthesia Research Society — are based on two studies involving more than 450 post-operative patients.
The first,led by Ronald Hunt, M.D., of Carolinas Medical Center University in Charlotte, tested the benefits of two types of aromatherapy on several hundred patients reporting nausea after surgery. The results showed patients receiving the aromatherapy treatments had lower nausea scores, compared to those given a placebo.
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"[A]romatherapy as a fast-acting agent either alone or combined with antiemetic
medications merits additional research in the treatment of nausea," noted Dr. Hunt.
The second study, conducted by Susan Dabu-Bondoc, M.D., of Yale School of Medicine, evaluated intravenous administration of a five percent solution of dextrose — a simple sugar — for prevention or treatment of vomiting after surgery.
The study involved 62 patients who received either the dextrose solution or standard IV fluid. The results showed nausea scores were about the same for both groups, but those receiving the sugar shots needed less antiemetic medications than those receiving standard IV fluids and were ready for discharge from the recovery room a little earlier.
Postoperative nausea and vomiting is a common complication, occurring in up to one-third of untreated surgical patients. Effective, non-drug approaches to preventing and managing the conditions are needed, the researchers said.
"This form of [sugar shot] therapy has a low side effect profile, is easily accessible, and is inexpensive," said Dr. Dabu-Bondoc.
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