Studies show that the painful side effects of cancer drugs can be treated with an agent that facilitates the effects of jet lag (jet lag syndrome).
The drug, known as melatonin prevents pain caused by chemotherapy . Rodent studies published in the Journal of Pineal Research, found that it blocks the harmful effects on nerve cells. According to experts, the results will help scientists understand more about how to limit the painful side effects of chemotherapy.
Scientists at Edinburgh University and Aberdeen studied state known as neuropathic pain during chemotherapy, which causes the tingling and pain to the touch and cold temperatures. It suffers nearly 70% of patients undergoing chemotherapy, which has a serious impact on quality of life. Even after treatment, certain actions can cause pain, and some patients may not return to work or do household chores.
"In this area is urgently needed new treatments. We are actively studying the condition of the patients at an early stage to determine whether the research could help people undergoing chemotherapy, "- said Professor Leslie Colvin.
Research has shown that melatonin assigned to chemotherapy restricts damaging effect on nerve cells and the appearance of pain, however it is rather prevention than treatment. Importantly, melatonin treatment does not affect the effectiveness of chemotherapy in the cells of the breast and ovarian cancer.
"These results are very interesting and suggest that melatonin protects the mitochondria of nerve cells. Our next steps are to further the study of the theory and the effect of melatonin in other painful conditions when mitochondria are damaged, "- says Dr. Carol Torsni.
The results also showed that melatonin reduces damage to vital parts of nerve cells caused by chemotherapy. Melatonin is a natural hormone that controls sleep, although synthetic variants may be prepared in the laboratory. Melatonin is used to alleviate sleep disorders and is a prescription drug in the UK.
These results are promising, especially given the fact that treatment with melatonin safely. But will spend some more research.