Methylphenidate in the management of asthenia in breast cancer patients treated with docetaxel: Results of a pilot study

Medical Oncology Service, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario Santiago de Compostela, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.
Investigational New Drugs (Impact Factor: 2.92). 04/2012; 30(2):688-94. DOI: 10.1007/s10637-010-9539-7
Source: PubMed


The objectives of this pilot study were to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the central nervous system stimulant methylphenidate in the management of asthenia in breast cancer patients treated with docetaxel.
Patients with early breast cancer who presented asthenia >3 on the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) after the first cycle of docetaxel-based chemotherapy were included. Patients received two additional cycles of chemotherapy, one with methylphenidate (10 mg bid) and the other without methylphenidate. Asthenia was evaluated using VAS and the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Fatigue (FACT-F) scale. Distress was assessed using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), and quality of life using FACT-F.
Ten patients were included and evaluated for efficacy and safety. Overall, cycles with methylphenidate were better tolerated than those without methylphenidate in terms of asthenia (VAS, p = 0.004; FACT-F, p = 0.027) and quality of life (FACT-F, p = 0.047). No significant differences were observed in terms of distress (HADS, p = 0.297). Six (60%) patients continued with methylphenidate after study end. Main adverse events during study were palpitations and insomnia (30% of patients each).
This pilot study suggests that methylphenidate may reduce asthenia and improve quality of life in breast cancer patients treated with docetaxel.

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