Scrambler therapy efficacy and safety for neuropathic pain correlated with chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy in adolescents: A preliminary study

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Abstract

Purpose

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a common side effect of chemotherapy, in need of effective treatment. Preliminary data support the efficacy of scrambler therapy (ST), a noninvasive cutaneous electrostimulation device, in adults with CIPN. We test the efficacy, safety, and durability of ST for neuropathic pain in adolescents with CIPN.

Patients and Methods

We studied nine pediatric patients with cancer and CIPN who received ST for pain control. Each patient received 45-min daily sessions for 10 consecutive days as a first step, but some of them required additional treatment.

Results

Pain significantly improved comparing Numeric Rate Scale after 10 days of ST (9.22 ± 0.83 vs. 2.33 ± 2.34; P < 0.001) and at the end of the optimized cycle (EOC) (9.22 ± 0.83 vs. 0.11 ± 0.33, P < 0.001). The improvement in quality of life was significantly reached on pain interference with general activity (8.67 ± 1.66 vs. 3.33 ± 2.12, P < 0.0001), mood (8.33 ± 3.32 vs. 2.78 ± 2.82, P < 0.0005), walking ability (10.00 vs. 2.78 ± 1.22, P < 0.0001), sleep (7.56 ± 2.24 vs. 2.67 ± 1.41, P < 0.001), and relations with people (7.89 ± 2.03 vs. 2.11 ± 2.03, P < 0.0002; Lansky score 26.7 ± 13.2 vs. 10 days of ST 57.8 ± 13.9, P < 0.001; 26.7 ± 13.2 vs. EOC 71.1 ± 16.2, P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Based on these preliminary data, ST could be a good choice for adolescents with CIPN for whom pain control is difficult. ST caused total relief or dramatic reduction in CIPN pain and an improvement in quality of life, durable in follow-up. It caused no detected side effects, and can be retrained successfully. Further larger studies should be performed to confirm our promising preliminary data in pediatric patients with cancer.

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