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Palonosetron is a selective serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist. The antiemetic activity of the drug is brought about through the inhibition of 5-HT3 receptors present both centrally (medullary chemoreceptor zone) and peripherally (GI tract). This inhibition of 5-HT3 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. Alternative mechanisms appear to be primarily responsible for delayed nausea and vomiting induced by emetogenic chemotherapy, since similar temporal relationships between between serotonin and emesis beyond the first day after a dose have not been established, and 5-HT3 receptor antagonists generally have not appeared to be effective alone in preventing or ameliorating delayed effects. It has been hypothesized that palonosetron’s potency and long plasma half-life may contribute to its observed efficacy in preventing delayed nausea and vomiting caused by moderately emetogenic cancer chemotherapy.
Palonosetron is an antinauseant and antiemetic agent indicated for the prevention of nausea and vomiting associated with moderately-emetogenic cancer chemotherapy and for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. Palonosetron is a highly specific and selective serotonin 5-HT3 receptor antagonist that is pharmacologically related to other 5-HT3 receptor antagonists, but differs structurally. Palonosetron has a high affinity for 5-HT3 receptors, but has little to no affinity for other 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. It is suggested 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.
Hepatic (50%), primarily CYP2D6-mediated, although CYP3A4 and CYP1A2 are also involved.
A single intravenous dose of palonosetron at 30 mg/kg (947 and 474 times the human dose for rats and mice, respectively, based on body surface area) was lethal to rats and mice. The major signs of toxicity were convulsions, gasping, pallor, cyanosis and collapse.
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2. Stoltz R, Cyong JC, Shah A, Parisi S: Pharmacokinetic and safety evaluation of palonosetron, a 5-hydroxytryptamine-3 receptor antagonist, in U.S. and Japanese healthy subjects. J Clin Pharmacol. 2004 May;44(5):520-31. [PubMed:15102873]
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6. Eisenberg P, MacKintosh FR, Ritch P, Cornett PA, Macciocchi A: Efficacy, safety and pharmacokinetics of palonosetron in patients receiving highly emetogenic cisplatin-based chemotherapy: a dose-ranging clinical study. Ann Oncol. 2004 Feb;15(2):330-7. [PubMed:14760130]
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