Treatment

There's no cure for cyclic vomiting syndrome, though many children no longer have vomiting episodes by the time they reach adulthood. For those experiencing cyclic vomiting episode, treatment focuses on controlling the signs and symptoms. You or your child may be prescribed:

  • Anti-nausea drugs
  • Pain-relieving medications
  • Medications that suppress stomach acid
  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-seizure medications

The same types of medications used for migraines can sometimes help stop or even prevent episodes of cyclic vomiting. These medications may be recommended for people whose episodes are frequent and long lasting, or for people with a family history of migraine.

IV fluids may need to be given to prevent dehydration. Treatment is individualized based on the severity and duration of symptoms as well as the presence of complications.

Alternative medicine

Alternative and complementary treatments may help prevent vomiting episodes, although none of these treatments has been well-studied. These treatments include:

  • Coenzyme Q10 (ubiquinone), a natural substance made in the body that is available as a supplement. Coenzyme Q10 assists with the basic functions of cells.
  • L-carnitine, a natural substance that is made in the body and is available as a supplement. L-carnitine helps your body turn fat into energy.

L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 may work by helping your body overcome difficulty in converting food into energy (mitochondrial dysfunction). Some researchers believe mitochondrial dysfunction may be a factor causing both cyclic vomiting syndrome and migraine.

Be sure to see a doctor and have the diagnosis of cyclic vomiting syndrome confirmed before starting any supplements. Always check with your doctor before taking any supplements to be sure you or your child is taking a safe dose and that the supplement won't adversely interact with any medications you're taking. Some people may experience side effects from L-carnitine and coenzyme Q10 that are similar to the symptoms of cyclic vomiting syndrome, including nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite.