Noradrenergic activity in anticipatory nausea

J. H. Fetting, M. E. Stefanek, V. R. Sheidler, J. D. Elsworth, S. Piantadosi, R. H. Roth

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5 Scopus citations


Two studies were conducted to examine the hypothesis that noradrenergic activity is a cause of the anticipatory nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy. In the first study concentrations of plasma 3-methoxy-4- hydroxyphenyl-glycol (MHPG) on day 1 of cycle 5 of initial chemotherapy were significantly higher in patients with than without anticipatory nausea. To determine whether elevated MHPG reflected a clinically significant causative role for noradrenergic activity in anticipatory nausea, we conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial of clonidine for anticipatory nausea. At a dose of clonidine that produced significant side effects and reductions of plasma MHPG, anticipatory nausea was improved only marginally. These studies do not support a causative role for noradrenergic activity in anticipatory nausea that can be reduced by clonidine with an acceptable therapeutic index.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)641-647
Number of pages7
JournalPsychosomatic Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • 3-methoxy-4- hydroxyphenyl-glycol (MHPG)
  • anticipatory nausea and vomiting
  • clonidine
  • norepinephrine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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