Original Research

Peripheral Neuropathy Caused by Paclitaxel and Docetaxel: An Evaluation and Comparison of Symptoms

Cindy Tofthagen*, PhD, ARNP, AOCNP®, FAANP, R. Denise McAllister, MS, ARNP, AOCNP®, and Constance Visovsky, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC

From University of South Florida, College of Nursing, Tampa, Florida; *postdoctoral fellow at University of Massachussets Boston and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Correspondence to: Cindy Tofthagen, PhD, ARNP, AOCNP®, FAANP, 12901 Bruce B. Downs Boulevard, MDC22, Tampa, FL 33612. E-mail: ctofthag@health.usf.edu


J Adv Pract Oncol 2013;4:204–215 | DOI: 10.6004/jadpro.2013.4.4.2 | © 2013 Harborside Press®


  

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence, severity, distress, and timing of neuropathic symptoms in cancer patients receiving taxanes and to explore neuropathy-related interference with activities. In this descriptive, cross-sectional study, 68 adult outpatients receiving paclitaxel (n = 36) and docetaxel (n = 32) completed the Chemotherapy Induced Peripheral Neuropathy Assessment Tool and a demographic questionnaire. Muscle or joint aches were the most prevalent symptom. Muscle or joint aches were also the most severe and distressing symptom in persons receiving paclitaxel. Participants receiving paclitaxel reported that neuropathic symptoms interfered with a mean of 7.3 (standard deviation [SD] = 4.1) of 14 activities. Nerve pain was the most severe and distressing symptom in persons receiving docetaxel. Participants receiving docetaxel reported that neuropathic symptoms interfered with a mean of 7.1 (SD = 4.1) of 14 activities. Numbness in the feet was the most frequent or constant symptom in persons receiving paclitaxel or docetaxel. Patients receiving paclitaxel and docetaxel experienced similar symptoms of peripheral neuropathy and interference with activities. Continued focus on treatment of painful neuropathy including myalgias and arthralgias is needed.




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