Purpose: Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms experienced by patients with cancer. This trial was developed to evaluate the efficacy of long-acting methylphenidate for improving cancer-related fatigue and to assess its toxicities. Patients and Methods: Adults with cancer were randomly assigned in a double-blinded manner to receive methylphenidate (target dose, 54 mg/d) or placebo for 4 weeks. The Brief Fatigue Inventory was the primary outcome measure, while secondary outcome measures included a Symptom Experience Diary (SED), the Short Form-36 (SF-36) Vitality Subscale, a linear analog self-assessment, the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and the Subject Global Impression of Change. Results: In total, 148 patients were enrolled. Using an area under the serum concentration-time curve analysis, there was no evidence that methylphenidate, as compared with placebo, improved the primary end point of cancer-related fatigue in this patient population (P = .35). Comparisons of secondary end points, including clinically significant changes in quality-of-life variables and cancer-related fatigue change from baseline, were similarly negative. However, a subset analysis suggested that patients with more severe fatigue and/or with more advanced disease did have some fatigue improvement with methylphenidate (eg, in patients with stage III or IV disease, the mean improvement in usual fatigue was 19.7 with methylphenidate v 2.1 with placebo; P = .02). There was a significant difference in self-reported toxicities (SED), with increased levels of nervousness and appetite loss in the methylphenidate arm. Conclusion: This clinical trial was unable to support the primary prestudy hypothesis that the chosen long-acting methylphenidate product would decrease cancer-related fatigue.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research