Pilot evaluation of Scrambler therapy for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

Abstract

Purpose

Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN), a common side effect of chemotherapy, needs better effective treatments. Preliminary data support the use of Scrambler therapy, a device which treats pain via noninvasive cutaneous electrostimulation, for the treatment of CIPN. The current manuscript reports data from a pilot trial, performed to investigate the effect of Scrambler therapy for the treatment of established CIPN.

Methods

Eligible patients had CIPN symptoms of ≥1 month duration with tingling and/or pain ≥4/10 during the prior week. Patients were treated with Scrambler therapy to the affected area(s) for up to ten daily 30-min sessions. Symptoms were monitored using a neuropathy questionnaire consisting of numerical analog scales ranging from 0 to 10, daily before therapy as well as weekly for 10 weeks after therapy. Descriptive summary statistics formed the basis of data analysis.

Results

Thirty-seven patients were enrolled. Twenty-five patients were treated primarily on their lower extremities while 12 were treated primarily on their upper extremities. There was a 53 % reduction in pain score from baseline to day 10; a 44 % reduction in tingling; and a 37 % reduction in numbness. Benefit appeared to last throughout 10 weeks of follow-up. There were no substantial adverse events.

Conclusion

Preliminary data support that Scrambler therapy may be effective for the treatment of CIPN: a prospective placebo-controlled clinical trial should be performed.

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Conflict of interest

Competitive Technologies provided the Scrambler machine and supplies for conduct of this trial but had no input into the writing of this manuscript. We have control of the primary data, which is available to the Journal to review, if indicated.

Funding

This study was supported by the US National Institutes of Health (grant CA 124477) and also by Mayo CTSA (grant no. UL1 TR000135).

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Correspondence to Charles L. Loprinzi.

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Pachman, D.R., Weisbrod, B.L., Seisler, D.K. et al. Pilot evaluation of Scrambler therapy for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. Support Care Cancer 23, 943–951 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00520-014-2424-8

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Keywords

  • Scrambler therapy
  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Electroanalgesia