Scrambler Therapy Enhances Quality of Life in Cancer Patients in a Palliative Care Setting: A Randomised Controlled Trial



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Journal Article

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Publication Title

Indian Journal of Palliative Care





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Breast cancer, Head and neck cancer, Lung cancer, Quality of life, Scrambler therapy


Objectives: Given the known side effects of opioids and the negative impact of these side effects on quality of life (QOL), there is a need for therapies that can reduce opioid intake and improve QOL in patients suffering from cancer pain. Scrambler therapy (ST) is a neuromodulatory therapy that has been shown to reduce cancer pain, but its effect on QOL is not well understood. This study intended to evaluate the efficacy of ST for enhancing QOL in cancer patients through minimising pain and opioid intake. Material and Methods: This was a randomised controlled trial including 80 patients with head, neck and thoracic cancer. In both arms, patients were given pain management drugs following the WHO analgesic ladder for ten consecutive days. In the intervention arm each day ST was given. Pain, morphine intake, and QOL (WHOQOL-BREF) were assessed. Results: All domains of QOL improved significantly in the intervention arm in comparison to the control arm. In comparison to baseline, pain improved in both the intervention and the control arm on day 10 and at follow-up. However, QOL significantly improved in the intervention arm, while morphine intake decreased. In the control arm, QOL deteriorated, while morphine intake increased. Conclusion: ST significantly improved QOL. Since the increase in QOL took place along with a significantly lower morphine intake, the improvement in QOL may not only be explained by lower pain scores but, also, by a reduced intake of morphine, because the lower dosages of morphine will decrease the likelihood of side effects associated with the drug.

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