Granisetron is a potent, selective antagonist of 5-HT_ receptors. The antiemetic activity of the drug is brought about through the inhibition of 5-HT_ receptors present both centrally (medullary chemoreceptor zone) and peripherally (GI tract). This inhibition of 5-HT_ receptors in turn inhibits the visceral afferent stimulation of the vomiting center, likely indirectly at the level of the area postrema, as well as through direct inhibition of serotonin activity within the area postrema and the chemoreceptor trigger zone.
Granisetron is a selective inhibitor of type 3 serotonergic (5-HT3) receptors. Granisetron has little or no affinity for other serotonin receptors, including 5-HT 1 , 5-HT 1A , 5-HT 1B/C , or 5-HT 2 ; for alpha 1 -, alpha 2 -, or beta-adrenoreceptors; for dopamine D 2 receptors; for histamine H 1 receptors; for benzodiazepine receptors; for picrotoxin receptors; or for opioid receptors. In most human studies, granisetron has had little effect on blood pressure, heart rate, or electrocardiogram (ECG). The drug is structurally and pharmacologically related to ondansetron, another selective inhibitor of 5-HT3 receptors. The serontonin 5-HT3 receptors are located on the nerve terminals of the vagus in the periphery, and centrally in the chemoreceptor trigger zone of the area postrema. The temporal relationship between the emetogenic action of emetogenic drugs and the release of serotonin, as well as the efficacy of antiemetic agents suggest that chemotherapeutic agents release serotonin from the enterochromaffin cells of the small intestine by causing degenerative changes in the GI tract. The serotonin then stimulates the vagal and splanchnic nerve receptors that project to the medullary vomiting center, as well as the 5-HT3 receptors in the area postrema, thus initiating the vomiting reflex, causing nausea and vomiting.
Primarily hepatic; undergoes N -demethylation and aromatic ring oxidation followed by conjugation. Animal studies suggest that some of the metabolites may have 5-HT 3 receptor antagonist activity.
LD50>2000 mg/kg (rat, oral)