Bruera, E., Yennurajalingam, S., Palmer, J.L., Perez-Cruz, P.E., Frisbee-Hume, S., Allo, J.A., . . . Cohen, M.Z. (2013). Methylphenidate and/or a nursing telephone intervention for fatigue in patients with advanced cancer: A randomized, placebo-controlled, phase II trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology, 31(19), 2421–2427.doi: 10.1200/JCO.2012.45.3696
Compare the effects of methylphenidate (MP) (psychostimulant) with those of a placebo (PL) on cancer-related fatigue. The effect of a combined intervention including MP plus a nursing telephone intervention (NTI) also was assessed.
Patients with a fatigue score of greater than or equal to 4 out of 10 on the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS) randomly were assigned to one of the following four groups: MP plus NTI, PL plus NTI, MP plus control telephone intervention (CTI), and PL plus CTI.
Randomized, controlled trial; placebo controlled
The groups MP alone, NTI alone, or MP plus NTI proved not significantly better than PL for cancer-related fatigue. Anxiety improved with the telephone intervention (p = .01), as did sleep (p < .001).
MP, used alone or in combination with NTI, was not superior to the control group or the PL for fatigue or depression. NTI was associated with improvement in anxiety and sleep.
Although the use of MP did not prove to be effective for cancer-related fatigue, several cancer-related symptoms significantly were improved with NTI. Further research in this area would be ideal, but NTIs remain potentially effective for patient support and education and can have a positive effect on patient experience.