Coping with Nausea
Large amounts of mucus and repeated use of certain medicines called antibiotics (an tee by ah tics) can cause nausea and an upset stomach for many people with bronchiectasis and nontuberculous mycobacterial (NTM) lung disease. Nausea causes a loss of appetite and weight loss. Extreme or quick weight loss can lead to poor health, an inability to fight infections, and poor health for patients with chronic lung disease. This includes those with bronchiectasis and NTM lung disease.1
Here are some ways to cope with nausea and an upset stomach from antibiotic use and too much mucus:
Ondansetron (on DAN se tron), also known as Zofran (zo fran) – This is a medicine used to treat nausea and vomiting. It is available in different forms including tablet that you swallow, oral dissolving tablet, and by an injection or “shot.”2 This medicine must be prescribed by a doctor. Not all patients will be able to use it because of their health history and the other drugs they may also be taking.
Prochlorperazine (pro chlor per azine), also known as Compazine (com pa zeen) – This medicine is used to prevent and treat nausea and vomiting. It can be taken by mouth as a quick acting tablet or a slow-release capsule. It can also be given by injection or as a rectal suppository.3
Metoclopramide (met o clo pra mide), also known as Reglan (reg lan) – This medicine increases muscle movement in the upper digestive tract. This can help to speed up the rate in which the stomach empties. This action helps to relieve nausea. Metoclopramide is typically taken by mouth before meals.4
Therapy to Pair with Your Medicines
Probiotics – Probiotics are good, live bacteria or yeasts that naturally occur in your body. These “good bacteria” help your immune system to work correctly. They can also reduce inflammation.5 Antibiotics tend to kill the good bacteria, along with the bad bacteria, in the stomach. It is important to replace the good bacteria by taking a probiotic supplement. Taking probiotics can also lessen the diarrhea that antibiotics can cause.6 You can get probiotics by eating foods like yogurt or cottage cheese, but they are also available as supplements you can buy.
There may be other foods and herbs that could help reduce nausea or improve gut health. Talk with your doctor to find out if there are specific foods that may help you.
Other Words of Advice
Some antibiotics are better absorbed on an empty stomach. However, if the antibiotic instructions are “take with food,” be sure to take as instructed. In some cases, food can help coat the stomach. This can help reduce side effects such as upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea.
A diet that is bland in flavor may also help to sooth the stomach. Bland foods that are low in dietary fiber can be used for a short-term treatment of nausea and diarrhea.7 This type of diet, however, does not provide you with all the daily nutrients that your body needs. If you are eating like this for a long period, talk with your doctor about other food choices to make sure you are giving your body the fuel it needs.
1. Itoh M, Tsuji T, Nemoto K, Nakamura H, Aoshiba K. Undernutrition in patients with COPD and its treatment. Nutrients. 2013;5(4):1316-1335. doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu5041316.
2. Prescribers’ Digital Reference (PDR). Ondansetron. PDR website. Updated 2021. Accessed February 5, 2021. https://www.pdr.net/drug-summary/Ondansetron-ondansetron-hydrochloride-3428.2904.
3. Prescribers’ Digital Reference (PDR). Prochlorperazine - drug summary. PDR website. Updated 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.pdr.net/drug-summary/Compro-prochlorperazine-2001.1792.
4. Prescribers’ Digital Reference (PDR). Metoclopramide - drug summary. PDR website. Updated 2021. Accessed March 16, 2021. https://www.pdr.net/drug-summary/Reglan-Tablets-metoclopramide-956.5843.
5. Cleveland Clinic. Probiotics. Cleveland Clinic website. Updated March 9, 2020. Accessed February 2, 2021 https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14598-probiotics.
6. Guo Q, Goldenberg JZ, Humphrey C, El Dib R, Johnston BC. Probiotics for the prevention of pediatric antibiotic-associated diarrhea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2019;4(4):CD004827. doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD004827
7. Duro D, Duggan C. The BRAT diet for acute diarrhea in children: should it be used? Pract Gastroenterol. 2007;31(6):60-68.