Nausea is more than an upset stomach. It can be experienced when the stomach attempts to eliminate its contents due to poison ingestion, a heart attack, or when indigestible material sits in the stomach for long periods of time. You may experience nausea as the result of taking certain drugs that the stomach recognizes as potentially harmful and foreign, but conditions like gallbladder disease can also lead to nausea. Likewise, chemical imbalances in the body as a whole and the brain in particular can lead to severe nausea, stomach pain and vomiting.
For some people, light nausea is a passing discomfort that occurs occasionally, but for people who are prescribed certain drugs or who are recovering from trauma, nausea can lead to vomiting, damage to the stomach lining and esophagus, dizziness, fainting and possibly infection due to underlying damage caused by excessive vomiting and esophageal tears. In severe cases, medications like Zofran may be needed in order to stop nausea and its associated complications.
What is Zofran?
Zofran (ondansetron) is an anti-nausea medication that acts as a 5-HT3 antagonist whereby serotonin is affected. It inhibits the stomach’s natural reflex to purge its contents after medical treatments with cancer medications or after surgical procedures. It is not prescribed for mild nausea, indigestion or stomach upset. It may be given to stop excessive vomiting in cases of alcohol or drug withdrawal or when treating nausea and vomiting occurring with gallbladder disease.
Medicare Coverage of Zofran
Zofran may be covered for Medicare recipients under the Part D prescription drug benefit. Medicare coverage for drugs under Part D usually requires that a physician has prescribed the medication. If you have Original Medicare, you can enroll in a stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan (PDP). Many Medicare recipients choose to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. Medicare Advantage plans are required to provide the same Part A and Part B benefits as Original Medicare, but many offer additional coverage, such as prescription drug benefits.
Natural Nausea Alternatives
Although Zofran may be needed to combat nausea in severe cases, there are natural treatments that may assist you in combating the sick feeling that comes with this condition. In mild cases, foods containing ginger may relieve nausea, and crackers may absorb excessive stomach liquids that could lead to nausea. Breathing exercises are also a popular natural alternative.
As always, you need to discuss your individual needs with your physician to see if medication in conjunction with natural therapies may be the best way to combat your symptoms. If symptoms become unmanageable or you vomit blood or a substance that resembles coffee grounds, seek medical assistance at once as this may indicate internal bleeding.
Medicare Part D: Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage