Effects of Sweet Bee Venom Pharmacopuncture Treatment for Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy
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OBJECTIVE: This is a case series reporting safety and degree of response to 1 dose level of sweet bee venom pharmacopuncture (SBVP) or melittin as a symptom-control therapy for chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN). SETTING: All treatments were conducted at the East West Cancer Center (EWCC), Dunsan Oriental Hospital, Daejeon University, Republic of Korea, an institution that uses complementary therapies for cancer patients. METHODS: Five consecutive patients with CIPN were referred to the EWCC from March 20, 2010, to April 10, 2010. Patients with World Health Organization Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (WHO CIPN) grade 2 or more were treated with SBVP for 3 treatment sessions over a 1-week period. Measures of efficacy and safety. Validated Visual Analog System (VAS) pain scale, WHO CIPN grade, and Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-General (FACT-G) were compared before and after the 1-week course of treatment. To ensure the safety of SBVP, pretreatment skin response tests were given to patients to avoid any potential anaphylactic adverse effects. All patients were closely examined for any allergenic responses following each treatment session. RESULTS: One patient discontinued treatment after the first session, and 4 patients completed all treatment sessions. Using each patient as their own comparator, marked improvements of VAS, WHO CIPN grade, and physical section scores of FACT-G were seen in 3 patients. Most important, there were no related adverse side effects found. CONCLUSION: This safety results of the SBVP therapy merits further investigations in a larger size trial for it to develop into a potential intervention for managing CIPN symptoms. This study will be extended to a dose-response evaluation to further establish safety and response, prior to a randomized trial.
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