Myalgias and Arthralgias associated with Paclitaxel: Incidence and management

Julie A. Garrison, Jeannine S. McCune, Robert B. Livingston, Hannah M. Linden, Julie R. Gralow, Georgiana K. Ellis, Howard L. West

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Paclitaxel-induced myalgias and arthralgias occur in a significant fraction of patients receiving therapy with this taxane, potentially impairing physical function and quality of life. Paclitaxel-induced myalgias and arthralgias are related to individual doses; associations with the cumulative dose and infusion duration are less clear. Identification of risk factors for myalgias and arthralgias could distinguish a group of patients at greater risk, leading to minimization of myalgias and arthralgias through the use of preventive therapies. Optimal pharmacologic treatment and possibilities for the prevention of myalgias and arthralgias associated with paclitaxel are unclear, partially due to the small number of patients treated with any one medication. The effectiveness of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is the most frequently documented pharmacologic intervention, although no clear choice exists for patients who fail to respond to NSAIDs. However, the increasing use of weekly paclitaxel could necessitate daily administration of NSAIDs for myalgias and arthralgias and leave patients at risk for adverse effects. This concern may also limit the use of corticosteroids for the prevention and treatment of paclitaxel-induced myalgias and arthralgias. Data from case reports suggest that gabapentin (Neurontin), glutamine, and, potentially, antihistamines (eg, fexofenadine [Allegra]) could be used to treat and/or prevent myalgias and arthralgias. Given the safety profile of these medications, considerable enthusiasm exists for evaluating their effectiveness in the prevention and treatment of paclitaxel myalgias and arthralgias, particularly in the setting of weekly paclitaxel administration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Myalgias and Arthralgias associated with Paclitaxel: Incidence and management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this