Acupuncture/ pressureAromatherapyBreathingGingerNausea/Vomiting

Considering CAM with other options to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting

Dr. Sheila Wilhelm and two colleagues at the Eugene Applebaum College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences in Detroit have published a review in The Annals of Pharmacotherapy on preventing nausea and vomiting following surgery (ie, postoperative nausea and vomiting; PONY).

It’s nice to see CAM options considered along with pharmacological options.

Acupressure wristbands

  • “May be effective in preventing PONV after short surgical procedures when applied prior to emetic stimulus exposure such as anesthetic agents.”


  • When compared to ondansetron (Zofran) “the 2 therapies were similar for preventing PONV.”
  • “The combination of acustimulation and ondansetron was better than ondansetron alone in preventing nausea and vomiting.”

Korean acupressure

  • “When using points on the fingers rather than the wrists, [it] significantly reduced nausea and vomiting.”

Guidelines that include acupuncture to prevent nausea and vomiting from the American Society of Anesthesiologists are discussed here.


  • “Does not appear to be beneficial in preventing PONV.”

A newer review of ginger disputes this conclusion.


  • “Effective for reducing nausea in surgical patients.”
  • “This may be due to controlled breathing patterns rather than the scent of the aromatherapy.”

The bottom line?

Unfortunately, none of these options were included in the summary recommendations.

Here’s a suggestion. Patient controlled acupressure as described here, combined with ondansetron.

3/27/07 19:13 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.