How long does nausea last after chemo? How soon does it hit?

A fellow caregiver asked...

How long can we expect nausea to last after chemo, and how soon does it hit after chemo?

Expert Answer

Senior Editor Melanie Haiken, who is responsible for's coverage of cancer, general health, and family finance, discovered how important it is to provide accurate, targeted, usable health information to people facing difficult decisions.

There isn't one answer to this question because it depends which chemotherapy drugs your patient is taking and, even more importantly, which anti-nausea medications your doctors have prescribed. In the past few years, a number of new anti-emetic (anti-nausea) drugs, such as Emend and Zofran, have been introduced that can greatly reduce nausea symptoms. However, some drugs are not considered safe with all types of cancer and all chemotherapy regimens. Your medical team should include a chemo nurse who can answer specific types of questions about your patient's chemo regimen, which anti-nausea drugs have been prescribed, and when -- and how strongly -- the patient can expect to feel nauseous. Most cancer patients find that nausea continues on and off throughout chemotherapy treatment. More information about nausea and chemo is available here.