Cyclic vomiting syndrome
Other Names for this Disease
- Familial cyclic vomiting syndrome (subtype)
Your QuestionMy adult son has cyclic vomiting syndrome. Although he has been taking medication, his symptoms continue to escalate. How might this condition be managed? Is there a place where we can find other people who have severe symptoms as a result of this condition?
We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.
Questions on this page
- What is cyclic vomiting syndrome?
- What are the characteristics of adult cyclic vomiting syndrome?
- How might cyclic vomiting syndrome be treated?
- What is the prognosis for patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome?
- Where can we connect with other adult patients with cyclic vomiting syndrome and others who have had difficulty managing their symptoms?
Other common symptoms include pallor and exhaustion. Some people also become sensitive to light and may develop:
- Abdominal pain
Cyclic vomiting syndrome can not be cured nor is there a standard, evidence-based treatment regimen. Management remains largely based on clinical experience and must be individualized and fine-tuned during the course of the patient's illness. In general, the treatment approach to a patient with cyclic vomiting syndrome should include consideration of lifestyle changes including avoidance of potential triggering factors, drug therapy to prevent subsequent episodes, supportive care treatment during acute episodes, and support of the family.
Treatment varies, but people with cyclic vomiting syndrome are generally advised to get plenty of rest; sleep; and take medications that prevent a vomiting episode, stop or alleviate one that has already started, or relieve other symptoms. Once a vomiting episode begins, treatment is supportive. It helps to stay in bed and sleep in a dark, quiet room. Severe nausea and vomiting may require hospitalization and intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration. Sedatives may help if the nausea continues. Sometimes, during the prodrome phase, it is possible to stop an episode from happening altogether. For example, people who feel abdominal pain before an episode can ask their doctor about taking ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) to try to stop it. Other medications that may be helpful are ranitidine (Zantac) or omeprazole (Prilosec), which help calm the stomach by lowering the amount of acid it makes.
People whose episodes are frequent (occur more than once a month) and long-lasting may be treated during the symptom-free intervals in an effort to prevent or ease future episodes. Medications that help people with migraine headaches—propranolol, cyproheptadine, and amitriptyline—are sometimes used during this phase, but they do not work for everyone. Other medications which may be helpful include nortriptyline, sumatriptan (Imitrex) and zolmitriptan (Zomig). Taking the medicine daily for 1 to 2 months may be necessary to see if it helps.
To learn more about new treatments which are being studied, visit ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. ClinicalTrials.gov provides patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies.
Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association
3585 Cedar Hill Road, NW.
Canal Winchester, OH 43110
Web page for adult patients: http://www.cvsaonline.org/CVSAAdults.htm
- Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome in Adults. International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD). October 10, 2013; http://www.aboutgimotility.org/site/about-gi-motility/disorders-of-the-stomach/cvs-in-adults. Accessed 12/19/2013.
- Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NDDIC). April 23, 2012; http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/cvs/index.htm. Accessed 12/19/2013.
- Cyclic vomiting syndrome. MayoClinic.com. April 19, 2013; http://www.mayoclinic.com/print/cyclic-vomiting-syndrome/DS00835/DSECTION=all&METHOD=print. Accessed 12/19/2013.
- Fleisher DR. Empiric Guidelines for Treatment of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome Association. April 2008; http://www.ch.missouri.edu/fleisher/2008%20Empiric%20Guidelines%202045.pdf. Accessed 11/21/2008.