Chemotherapy Pain Alleviated by Antidepressant

TON - Daily

Antidepressant drug therapy improved study patients’ quality of life

Patients receiving chemotherapy often experience chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy that for up to 40% of patients may persist for months or years following chemotherapy treatments. Now, with the use of duloxetine, the painful numbness can be diminished, according to new study results.

The study involved 231 patients who presented with painful neuropathy following treatment with the chemotherapy drugs paclitaxel or oxaliplatin. Participants who received duloxetine took 30 mg daily for 1 week followed by 60 mg per day for 4 more weeks.

Study results showed that 59% of patients who received duloxetine reported a decrease in pain compared with only 38% of patients taking placebo. Furthermore, after 5 weeks, patients given duloxetine reported a decrease of more than a full point in average pain on a 10-point scale.

Compared with patients receiving placebo, those in the duloxetine group also reported greater improvements in quality of life.

Lead study author Ellen M. Lavoie Smith, PhD, APRN, AOCN, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing and a researcher at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center, said, “This is not just about improving quality of life by decreasing pain, but potentially it’s helping patients live longer because they can get their full chemotherapy treatment.”

The study is published in JAMA.

Source: University of Michigan Health System.

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