Durand, J.P., Deplanque, G., Montheil, V., Gornet, J.M., Scotte, F., Mir, O., . . . Goldwasser, F. (2012). Efficacy of venlafaxine for the prevention and relief of oxaliplatin-induced acute neurotoxicity: Results of EFFOX, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase III trial. Annals of Oncology, 23, 200–205.doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdr045
The aim of the study was to evaluate the efficacy of venlafaxine for the prevention and treatment of oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neuropathy.
Patients who reported distressing acute neurotoxicity after oxaliplatin-based chemotherapy were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or venlafaxine hydrochloride 50 mg one hour prior to chemotherapy infusion and venlafaxine extended release 37.5 mg twice daily from day 2 to day 11. Placebo was given with the same timing. From day 12 on, no venlafaxine extended release was given. Study treatment continued as long as the oxaliplatin treatment lasted. Study evaluation and data collection was conducted pretreatment, daily on day 1 through 5 of chemotherapy treatment, and at three months after study completion.
The study was conducted at a single outpatient setting in France.
Phase of care
The study had a double blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial design.
The proportion of patients reporting full relief of acute neurotoxic symptoms was 31.3% compared to 5.3% in the placebo group (p = 0.03). In the venlafaxine group, 68.8% reported more than 50% symptom relief compared to 26.3% on placebo (p = 0.02). There were no grade 3 or 4 adverse events related to venlafaxine. Among those receiving venlafaxine, the most common adverse events were nausea and vomiting, asthenia, orthostatic hypotension, and somnolence. These side effects occurred more frequently in the venlafaxine group (p < 0.03).
The findings suggest that venlafaxine as studied here is effective in reducing acute neurotoxic symptoms associated with oxiplatin chemotherapy.
A small sample size (less than 100 participants)
The findings provide support for the efficacy of venlafaxine to prevent acute oxiplatin-related neurotoxicity. The study is limited by sample size, so the results are inconclusive. Additional research in this area is warranted.