Treatments for Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain
Neuropathic pain is caused by damage or disease that impacts a diverse sensory system made of receptors and processing sensors that produce sensations such as touch, temperature, body position, and pain. Some of the drugs in chemotherapy treatments can damage nerves leading to Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain. Due to severe symptoms, cancer patients with neuropathic pain may not be able to tolerate optimal doses of chemotherapy needed to save or prolong their lives. Learn more about preventing Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain here.
What are the symptoms of Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain?
- Pain of very types and durations
- Tingling, numbness, loss of feeling, burning
- Impaired motor skills
- Balance problems, which may lead to stumbling or falling
- Sensitivity to pressure and temperature changes
- Muscle weakness and loss
All types of neuropathic pain can be extremely difficult to treat: only half of patients achieve partial relief. Although studies have not revealed one best treatment method, there are several strategies to reduce pain and promote relief for cancer patients suffering from Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain.
How do you treat Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain?
Because chemotherapy drugs kill cancer cells by different mechanisms, and the cause of nerve damage differs, there are several treatments to reduce Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain:
- Antidepressants are commonly used to limit pain signals from the spinal cord to the brain.
- Anticonvulsants block calcium channels on neurons decreasing pain sensation.
- Opiods (Narcotics) are the most effective form of treatments, but they must be used in close medical supervision for risk of addiction and abuse.
- Topical Agents such as patches or creams may numb pain areas if applied directly to the skin.
- Steroids may be used for a short-term basis in conjunction with a long-term plan to alleviate pain.
Researchers have found other methods useful when reducing Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain:
- Electrical nerve stimulation
- Relaxation therapy, biofeedback, guided imagery
- Occupational and physical therapy
Currently no one method to treat Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain exists; often a combination of therapies must be used—often producing mixed results. Experts agree additional research must be done to identify more effective treatments for cancer patients suffering with Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain
Jean Brown Research is conducting a study of an investigational medication for Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain. Participants 18 and older with Chemotherapy-Induced Neuropathic Pain who are selected for the study will receive a no-cost investigational pain medication, healthcare related to the study, and compensation up to $700 for time and travel.