Medline ® Abstracts for References 108-110
of 'Prevention and treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting in adults'
Behavioral treatment for the anticipatory nausea and vomiting induced by cancer chemotherapy.
Morrow GR, Morrell C
N Engl J Med. 1982;307(24):1476.
The nausea and vomiting experienced by one in four cancer patients in anticipation of chemotherapy is probably a learned response to treatment. To determine whether behavioral approaches for altering learned responses might be useful treatments for these symptoms, we compared the effects of "systematic desensitization" (a behavioral treatment in which relaxation is learned as a response to situations in which patients have had anticipatory nausea and vomiting) with those of counseling and of no treatment. Sixty ambulatory cancer patients with anticipatory nausea and vomiting before their third and fourth chemotherapy treatments were randomized equally to the three groups. Significantly more patients receiving desensitization reported no anticipatory nausea before their fifth and sixth chemotherapy treatments than patients given counseling (P less than 0.05) or no treatment (P less than 0.01). Desensitized patients also reported significantly less severe anticipatory nausea (P less than 0.01) and vomiting (P less than 0.05) and a shorter duration of anticipatory nausea (P less than 0.01). We conclude that systematic desensitization appears to have an antiemetic effect in cancer patients who receive chemotherapy, and may be useful in the management of these problems.
Effectiveness of biofeedback and relaxation training in reducing the side effects of cancer chemotherapy.
Burish TG, Jenkins RA
Health Psychol. 1992;11(1):17.
Assessed the effectiveness of electromyographic (EMG) and skin-temperature (ST) biofeedback and relaxation training (RT) in reducing the aversiveness of cancer chemotherapy. Eighty-one cancer patients, equated on several individual-difference variables, were randomized to one of six groups formed by a 3 (EMG Biofeedback, ST Biofeedback, No Biofeedback) x 2 (RT, No RT) factorial design. Outcome was assessed with physiological, patient-reported, and nurse-reported indices taken over five consecutive chemotherapy treatments. RT patients showed decreases in nausea and anxiety during chemotherapy and physiological arousal after chemotherapy. EMG and ST biofeedback reduced some indices of physiological arousal but had no other effects on chemotherapy side effects. These findings suggest that RT can be effective in reducing the adverse consequences of chemotherapy and that the positive effects found for biofeedback in prior research were due to the RT that was given with the biofeedback, not to the biofeedback alone.
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN 37240.
Behavioural interventions and psychological aspects of care during chemotherapy.
Eur J Cancer. 1992;28A Suppl 1:S39.
Numerous studies have reported the deleterious impact that the side effects of cytotoxic chemotherapy can exert on the quality of life in patients with cancer. Nausea and vomiting consistently feature as the most distressing aspects of cancer therapy. Uncontrolled emesis can cause patients to abandon treatment and the poor public image of chemotherapy may lead others to refuse treatment altogether. Anticipatory nausea and vomiting can also develop in patients and this may persist for many years after successful completion of treatment. There are several behavioural interventions that are effective in ameliorating or preventing these unpleasant side effects. Consequently, psychological support should be provided as an integral part of good patient management, alongside appropriate antiemetic and anxiolytic drugs. As we can identify the characteristics of those patients more at risk from severe emesis and the development of anticipatory problems, there are good arguments for the most effective drug therapy (rather than the cheapest) being given to them prophylactically, together with relaxation techniques.
Department of Psychiatry, London Hospital Medical College, U.K.