Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) is among the most important concerns of patients undergoing surgery. The incidence ranges from 30% to 70%. The incidence of PONV correlates with a number of risk factors a patient possesses. Patient-related risk factors in adults are: female gender, history of PONV, duration of surgery > 60 min, nonsmoking status, history of motion sickness, and postoperative use of opioids. Risk factors in children are: duration of surgery ≥ 30 minutes, age ≥ 3 years, strabismus surgery, and a history of PONV in the patient, parent or sibling. Treatment of PONV includes various classes of medications and none of them is entirely effective. If it is necessary to use combination therapy, then medicines with different sites of activity should be used. Promethazine is a phenothiazine derivate available as a medicine since its introduction in 1946. In this article, a search was performed to identify all published papers and reports evaluating the effectiveness of promethazine for the management of postoperative nausea and vomiting in adults and children. The results of this review support the finding that promethazine is not recommended as a first-line agent in the treatment of PONV, but can be considered for use as a rescue antiemetic.
Key words: promethazine, postoperative nausea and vomiting, treatment