Heart Tied to Chronic Nausea in Kids

Fludrocortisone may help children with chronic nausea

(RxWiki News) Up to 25 percent of all children experience unexplained chronic nausea, a condition that can be debilitating. Now researchers think they might have found out why.

A link between heart rate and blood pressure regulation may explain the chronic nausea some kids experience. The finding has aided in finding a more effective treatment for the disorder.

"Talk to your doctor about treatments for nausea and orthostatic intolerance."

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers found that a drug used to treat a disorder called orthostatic intolerance, which can cause dizziness and occasional fainting after standing for long periods, also reduces chronic nausea in pediatric patients.

Dr. John Fortunato, lead study author and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Wake Forest Baptist, noted that treatment for the heart rate irregularity helped to reduce the nausea.

The condition that causes chronic nausea in children is not well understood, and in the past most treatments have not been very effective. Medications that were prescribed for the disorder typically focused on alleviating gastroenterology symptoms.

The study followed 17 patients between the ages of 11 and 17 years old who suffered from unexplained nausea and dizziness for a year and had orthostatic intolerance.

For four weeks, participants were treated with fludrocortisone, a medication for orthostatic intolerance that lowers the exaggerated increase in heart rate and drop in blood pressure that happens when patients stand. Of the 17 patients, 11 or 65 percent experienced an improvement in nausea symptoms of 50 percent or greater from the treatment.

Based on this study, Dr. Fortunato plans to conduct a larger clinical trial to determine additional use of the drug and other potential medications on children with chronic nausea.

He said the current study showed a more direct way to treat the condition, and that it offers new possibilities for different treatments in the future.

The research was published in Clinical Autonomic Research.

Review Date: 
September 1, 2011