Sniffing an alcohol pad may be a good cure for nausea.

Almost five million people go to emergency rooms annually in the United States for severe nausea and vomiting, and it is commonly treated with oral ondansetron (Zofran), a drug used to control the nausea of chemotherapy.

Sniffing isopropyl alcohol can also help control chemotherapy nausea, but until now it has not been tested against Zofran for emergency rooms patients, who have a wide variety of causes of nausea. Researchers randomized 120 patients with nausea to use either a sniffed alcohol pad and oral Zofran, alcohol and an oral placebo, or Zofran and sniffed saline solution. The study is in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.

study is in the Annals of Emergency Medicine

Before treatment, patients averaged about 50 on a 100-millimeter visual scale of nausea severity, with 100 being the worst. The average decrease a half-hour after treatment was 30 millimeters for those who smelled alcohol and took Zofran, 32 for alcohol and an oral placebo, and 9 for those who took Zofran and sniffed a placebo.

The lead author, Dr. Michael D. April, of the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, said that there is no reason to believe that sniffing alcohol


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