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Pain management

Antioxidant successfully relieves chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain

Researchers studied the effects of melatonin on mitochondrial damage and neuropathic pain after chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain is a common side effect of cancer treatment and can be severe enough to require dose reduction or treatment cessation.

Researchers investigated the potential of melatonin, a potent antioxidant, to reduce mitochondrial damage and neuropathic pain resulting from the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel.

In vitro, paclitaxel was observed to reduce mitochondrial membrane potential and metabolic activity by 50%; however, these effects were prevented with the addition of melatonin. Treatment with melatonin did not inhibit the cytotoxic action of paclitaxel in two relevant cancer lines.  

In a rat model, pre-treatment with oral melatonin administered in drinking water was protective. It limited the development of mechanical hypersensitivity in male and female animals by 50% and 41% respectively. An additive effect was found when melatonin was given with duloxetine.

Melatonin is a potential treatment to limit the development of painful neuropathy resulting from chemotherapy treatment, the researchers concluded in the Journal of Pineal Research (22 September 2017)[1]

Citation: Clinical Pharmacist DOI: 10.1211/CP.2017.20203779

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