Effect of Aromatherapy Massage on Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathic Pain and Fatigue in Patients Receiving Oxaliplatin: An Open Label Quasi–Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

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Abstract

Background

Patients receiving oxaliplatin may experience peripheral neuropathic pain and fatigue. Aromatherapy massage, a nonpharmacological method, may help to control these symptoms.

Objective

The aim of this open-label, parallel-group, quasi–randomized controlled pilot study was to investigate the effect of aromatherapy massage on chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathic pain and fatigue in patients receiving oxaliplatin.

Methods

Stratified randomization was used to allocate 46 patients to 2 groups: intervention (n = 22) and control (n = 24). Between week 1 and week 6, participants in the intervention group (IG) received aromatherapy massage 3 times a week. There was no intervention in weeks 7 and 8. The control group (CG) received routine care. Neuropathic pain was identified using the Douleur Neuropathique 4 Questions; severity of painful paresthesia was assessed with the numerical rating scale; fatigue severity was identified with the Piper Fatigue Scale.

Results

At week 6, the rate of neuropathic pain was significantly lower in the IG, when compared with the CG. The severity of painful paresthesia based on numerical rating scale in the IG was significantly lower than that in the CG at weeks 2, 4, and 6. At week 8, fatigue severity in the IG was significantly lower when compared with CG (P < .05).

Conclusion

Aromatherapy massage may be useful in the management of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathic pain and fatigue.

Implications for Practice

This pilot study suggests that aromatherapy massage may be useful to relieve neuropathic pain and fatigue. However, there is a need for further clinical trials to validate the results of this study.

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