Scrambler Therapy — in which an electronic device is used to block transmission of pain signals by providing non-pain information to the nerve fibres — is a viable option for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), according to results of a small, prospective study presented on October 21 at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).
Siddarth Thakur, MD, and Salahadin Abdi, MD, PhD, both of The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, assessed the impact of Scrambler Therapy on health outcomes in patients experiencing pain associated with CIPN (reported to be as high as 90% for some chemotherapeutic drugs).
In this study, 7 patients with a cancer diagnosis and associated CIPN underwent Scrambler Therapy, with each patient undergoing 7 to 10 treatment sessions, each 45 minutes in length.
Treatment response was measured at baseline, during treatment, and post-treatment, using a 10-point pain score (0 = no pain, 10 = worst pain imaginable). The authors also measured patient-reported variables, such as changes in activity level, quality of sleep, and medication use.
All 7 patients obtained greater than 50% pain relief at the post-treatment meeting, with 3 patients reporting a post-treatment pain score of 0.
In addition, each patient reported increased activity levels and improved quality of sleep, while 6of the 7 patients were able to decrease their medication.
Drs. Thakur and Abdi noted that this improvement in medication use “represents an important benefit, as the side effects from long-term analgesic use are well recognised.”
“Scrambler Therapy is an effective and non-invasive technique for the treatment of pain associated with chemotherapy related peripheral neuropathy,” the researchers concluded, noting that further study with a large, randomised, placebo-controlled multicentre trial is warranted.
Pain from CIPN is difficult to manage. Some common pharmacologic therapies have proven to be ineffective, and many patients are unable to take analgesics because of side effects or limitations due to their disease.
[Presentation title: Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Successfully Treated with Scrambler Therapy: A Report of Seven Cases. Abstract #: A1116]