Multivitamins do not improve radiation therapy-related fatigue: results of a double-blind randomized crossover trial

Angelo Bezerra de Souza Fêde, Carolina Games Bensi, Damila Cristina Trufelli, Maíra Paschoin de Oliveira Campos, Priscila Guedes Pecoroni, Rodrigo Perez Ranzatti, Rafael Kaliks, Auro Del Giglio
American Journal of Clinical Oncology 2007, 30 (4): 432-6

BACKGROUND: Fatigue is a common symptom in cancer patients receiving radiation therapy.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: We conducted a double-blind randomized crossover trial of multivitamins versus placebo in patients with breast cancer undergoing radiation therapy to evaluate fatigue and quality of life.

RESULTS: : We randomized 40 patients to either placebo or Centrum Silver. At the middle of the radiation treatments, patients were switched from placebo to multivitamins and vice versa. Patients answered the EORTC QLQ C-30 quality of life (QOL) and Chalder fatigue questionnaires at the beginning, middle, and end of radiation therapy. Both groups experienced decreases in general (P = 0.009; P = 0.001) and physical fatigue scores (P = 0.031; P = 0.029) at the end of the course of placebo compared with the assessment prior to this treatment. We also observed significant improvements in functional (P = 0.026) and symptoms (P = 0.016) score scales of the QOL questionnaire in the patients on placebo. No significant changes were elicited with the use of multivitamins. We also observed significantly lower rates of fatigue in the patients who had just finished a course of placebo as compared with patients finishing a course of multivitamins (0 vs. 25% P = 0.035).

CONCLUSION: Multivitamins do not improve radiation-related fatigue in patients with breast cancer.

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