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Nonpharmacologic strategies for managing common chemotherapy adverse effects: a systematic review.


PURPOSE: Adverse effects of chemotherapy can be severe and can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. With chemotherapy treatment increasingly administered in the ambulatory setting, there is a need for patients to be informed about effective self-care strategies to manage treatment adverse effects. Advice for patients needs to be based on evidence. This systematic review provides an overview of the intervention research in this area as well as an effectiveness review of nonpharmacologic (self-care) strategies evaluated in high-quality randomized controlled trials (RCTs). METHODS: An extensive literature search was conducted to identify RCTs relating to self-care strategies for reducing nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, fatigue, hair loss, or mucositis. Relevant studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 1980 and August 2007 were included. Study characteristics, results and methodologic quality were examined. High-quality RCTs were further analyzed to establish the effectiveness of specific self-care strategies. RESULTS: The search identified 77 RCTs. Findings from RCTs of reasonable quality provide limited support for cognitive distraction, exercise, hypnosis, relaxation, and systematic desensitization to reduce nausea and vomiting, psycho-education for fatigue, and scalp cooling to reduce hair loss. CONCLUSION: Although some strategies seem promising, the quality of the RCTs was generally quite low, making it difficult to draw conclusions about the effectiveness of self-care strategies. Future studies require better design and reporting of methodologic issues to establish evidence-based self-care recommendations for people receiving chemotherapy.

J Clin Oncol. 2008 Dec 1;26(34):5618-29. Lotfi-Jam K, Carey M, Jefford M, Schofield P, Charleson C, Aranda S. Department of Nursing and Supportive Care Research, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria 8006, Australia.






Posted: 02/09/2009

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