Methodological issues in the investigation of ginseng as an intervention for fatigue

Julie L. Elam, Janet Carpenter, Xiao Ou Shu, Sonia Boyapati, Janet Friedmann-Gilchrist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Although literature suggests that fatigue is commonly reported by women during and after breast cancer treatment, treatment options are limited. Although ginseng is widely used in Asian countries as a tonic to increase energy, its efficacy for treating cancer-related fatigue has not been carefully studied. We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of a larger clinical trial to investigate the efficacy of ginseng for treating breast cancer-related fatigue. PARTICIPANTS/METHODS: Breast cancer survivors seeking treatment for fatigue were recruited to participate in an 8-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. RESULTS: A variety of practical problems were encountered in the study, including large numbers of survivors with conditions that were possible contraindications to ginseng use, inability to achieve blinding for the intervention because of strong odor from the ginseng, and measurement device failure. DISCUSSION: Evaluating ginseng for breast cancer treatment-related fatigue is a great challenge, particularly if a blinded randomized design is desired. This article provides insight into issues related to investigating complementary therapies and the importance of pilot studies for identifying methodological problems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-189
Number of pages7
JournalClinical Nurse Specialist
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2006

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Panax
Fatigue
Breast Neoplasms
Survivors
Equipment Failure
Therapeutics
Complementary Therapies
Placebos
Clinical Trials
Neoplasms

Keywords

  • Breast cancer
  • Complementary therapy
  • Fatigue
  • Pilot study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Leadership and Management
  • LPN and LVN

Cite this

Methodological issues in the investigation of ginseng as an intervention for fatigue. / Elam, Julie L.; Carpenter, Janet; Shu, Xiao Ou; Boyapati, Sonia; Friedmann-Gilchrist, Janet.

In: Clinical Nurse Specialist, Vol. 20, No. 4, 07.2006, p. 183-189.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Elam, Julie L. ; Carpenter, Janet ; Shu, Xiao Ou ; Boyapati, Sonia ; Friedmann-Gilchrist, Janet. / Methodological issues in the investigation of ginseng as an intervention for fatigue. In: Clinical Nurse Specialist. 2006 ; Vol. 20, No. 4. pp. 183-189.
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