Co enzyme Q 10 (CoQ10)

Co enzyme Q 10 (CoQ10)

PEP Topic 

CoQ10 is a substance found in cell membranes that plays a role in energy production and transport at the cellular level. It has antioxidant properties. Although suggested in the lay literature for multiple conditions, it is not currently approved for the treatment of any condition. CoQ10 was studied in patients with cancer for its effect on fatigue.

Effectiveness Not Established

Research Evidence Summaries

Lesser, G. J., Case, D., Stark, N., Williford, S., Giguere, J., Garino, L. A., . . . Wake Forest University Community Clinical Oncology Program Research Base. (2013). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of oral coenzyme Q(10) to relieve self-reported treatment-related fatigue in newly diagnosed patients with breast cancer. Journal of Supportive Oncology, 11, 31–42.

doi: 10.1016/j.suponc.2012.03.003

Study Purpose:

To determine the effect of ​coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) on self-reported fatigue, depression, and quality of life.

Intervention Characteristics/Basic Study Process:

Patients were women with breast cancer and planned adjuvant chemotherapy randomized to oral supplements of 300 mg of CoQ10 or placebo, each combined with 300 IU of vitamin E in three daily doses. The intervention began within four days of starting chemotherapy and was continued for 24 weeks. All study assessments were conducted at baseline and 8,16, and 24 weeks. Serum CoQ10 and vitamin E levels were used to measure adherence to the study medications.

Sample Characteristics:

  • The study included 175 patients with breast cancer (all women) who completed eight weeks and 139 patients who completed 24 weeks.  
  • Median age was 51 years (range 28–85).
  • Patients were newly diagnosed with breast cancer.


Patients' homes in South Carolina

Phase of Care and Clinical Applications:

Patients were undergoing the active antitumor treatment phase of care.

Study Design:

This was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial.

Measurement Instruments/Methods:

The study used multiple instruments with the primary outcome of fatigue:

  • Profile of Mood States-Fatigue (POMS-F)
  • Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy-Fatigue (FACIT-F)
  • Linear analogue scale assessment [LASA]-Fatigue.


No significant differences existed between the CoQ10 and placebo arms at 24 weeks for scores on the outcome instruments measuring fatigue. In addition, no significant differences were found on secondary outcomes, such as quality of life measured by the FACT-Brease Cancer (BC) instrument or the ​Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression (CESD) Scale measuring depression.


Supplementation with conventional doses of CoQ10 led to sustained increases in plasma CoQ10 levels but did not result in improved self-reported fatigue or quality of life after 24 weeks of treatment.

Nursing Implications:

The study suggests that no evidence exists that using standard-dose CoQ10 supplementation to target fatigue in newly diagnosed women with breast cancer is effective in ameliorating treatment-related fatigue.