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The Use of Isopropyl Alcohol for Nausea and Vomiting in the ED

May 2020

Abstract

Background: Approximately 4.8 million people in the United States visit the emergency department (ED) every year with a chief complaint dealing with nausea and vomiting. Ondansetron (Zofran) is commonly used to treat nausea and vomiting in a variety of settings, especially in the ED. However, it causes a lot of side effects. One alternate treatment that has been found effective in treating postoperative nausea and vomiting is aromatherapy – specifically with isopropyl alcohol. The aim of this paper is to look at the use of isopropyl alcohol in the ED for the treatment of nausea/vomiting.

Methods: An exhaustive literature search using MEDLINE-PubMed, Web Science, and CINAHL was conducted. The following search terms were used: Isopropyl and emergency and randomized. Studies were assessed for risk of bias using JAMAevidence worksheets.

Results: The initial search yielded 25 articles for review. After eliminating duplicates and screening these results for relevant articles using eligibility criteria, there were a total of 2 articles. These studies showed that isopropyl alcohol provided greater nausea relief in patients presenting to the ED with nausea and/or vomiting.

Conclusion: Using aromatherapy with isopropyl alcohol pads alone, or in combination with Ondansetron, was effective in the treatment of acute nausea and vomiting in the ED.

Keywords: Isopropyl, Ondansetron, nausea, emergency, randomized

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