US regulators have approved the use of Merck & Co’s anti nausea and vomiting drug Emend in children with cancer.

The US Food and Drug Administration says the drug can be used, in combination with other antiemetics, in patients 12 years and older and those less than 12 years who weigh at least 30kg to prevent acute and delayed chemotherapy -induced nausea and vomiting (CINV).

With this approval, Emend (aprepitant) is the first and only NK1 receptor antagonist cleared for this indication and patient group.

Clearance was supported by data from a pivotal Phase III study showing that the addition of the drug to a standard CINV regimen resulted in a reduction of emetic events; 51% of patients on Emend reached the primary endpoint of achieving complete response, (no vomiting or retching and no use of rescue medication) 25 to 120 hours following the beginning of chemotherapy, compared to 26% of those on placebo.