Methylphenidate in the management of asthenia in breast cancer patients treated with docetaxel: results of a pilot study.
ABSTRACT 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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ABSTRACT: This article reviews the most recent studies that examine the efficacy of psychostimulants for the relief of symptoms such as asthenia and depression in cancer patients. Although most research to date has focused on the use of methylphenidate for the relief of symptoms such as asthenia and depression in cancer patients, there is growing interest in the use of modafinil, a psychostimulant with a structure and mechanism that differs from other drugs belonging to this group. Initial studies mainly investigated the treatment of depressive symptoms in patients with advanced cancer; however, more recent studies have evaluated the use of psychostimulants in cancer-related fatigue identifying subgroups of patients and clinical settings in which psychostimulants are most efficient. For the relief of chemotherapy symptoms in cancer patients, methylphenidate and modafinil were no more effective than placebo, although findings suggest that these psychostimulants may provide some benefit in patients who are suffering more severe asthenia or who are at advanced stages of the cancer. Methylphenidate showed marginal improvement in relation to symptoms such as asthenia and depression in studies in which it was compared with placebo; data from the only phase III study suggest that modafinil is an effective drug for advanced oncology patients.Current opinion in supportive and palliative care 06/2011; 5(2):164-8.
- Supportive Care in Cancer 05/2012; 20(10):2247. · 2.09 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is a common symptom affecting patients with cancer. There are an increasing number of trials examining potential treatments for CRF. Methylphenidate represents one of the most researched drugs and an up-to-date assessment of the evidence for its use is needed. Trials of methylphenidate for CRF provided inconsistent results. This meta-analysis was aimed at assessing the effect and safety of methylphenidate on CRF. We comprehensively searched the Pubmed, EMBASE, PSYCHInfo and the Cochrane databases in order to identify published studies on the effect of methylphenidate on CRF. Primary outcomes included fatigue. Secondary outcomes included depression, cognition and adverse effects. A meta-analysis was conducted on five randomized controlled trials and 498 patients were enrolled. Despite a large placebo effect observed in the studies included, pooled data suggested therapeutic effect of methylphenidate on CRF. Subgroup Analyses showed that the efficacy of methylphenidate on CRF is getting better with prolonging treatment duration, with a MD of -3.70 (95% CI -7.03- -0.37, p = 0.03) for long-time group and a MD of -2.49 (95% CI -6.01-1.03, p = 0.17) for short-time group. In general, there was no impact of methylphenidate on depression and cognition associated with CRF. Adverse events were similar between methylphenidate and placebo groups except that more patients reported vertigo, anxiety, anorexia and nausea in methylphenidate group compared to placebo group. Existing trials of methylphenidate on CRF provided limited evidence for the use of methylphenidate to treat CRF. The absolute numbers still remain small, and further confirmation is needed before firm recommendations on their usage and safety can be made in the treatment of CRF.PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e84391. · 3.53 Impact Factor