Breast cancer survivors who received the chemotherapy drug paclitaxel (Taxol) are at an increased risk of developing neuropathic pain, according to new findings suggesting that these patients be frequently monitored for such chronic pain following chemotherapy.
As recently detailed in the Journal of Pain, researchers surveyed 240 women who participated in clinical trials for Taxol between 1994 and 2001.
According to the survey results, 64 percent of those patients stated that they experienced chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) during treatment with this drug.
Furthermore, 27 percent of these women who experienced CIPN were later diagnosed with chronic neuropathic pain.
In other terms, women who developed CIPN while taking Taxol were three times more likely to be diagnosed later with chronic pain involving neuropathy.
According to the study’s authors, Taxol may lead to neuropathic pain as a result of a tumor-killing cellular mechanism that is also deadly to normal tissue.
Generally speaking, neuropathy occurs from damage to or pathological changes to the peripheral or central nervous system, and involves nerve malfunctioning that can cause severe back pain or other chronic pain in patients.