Recommended guidelines for the treatment of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea

Scott Wadler*, Al B. Benson, Constance Engelking, Robert Catalano, Michael Field, Steven M. Kornblau, Edith Mitchell, Joseph Rubin, Paul Trotta, Everett Vokes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations


Purpose: Management of chemotherapy-induced diarrhea (CID) has customarily involved symptomatic treatment with opioids in conjunction with supportive care. Alternatively, patients refractory to conventional therapy have been given octreotide, a somatostatin analogue. Although this agent has been effective against CID, no widely accepted treatment guidelines that incorporate its use currently exist. An expert multidisciplinary panel was convened to formulate clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of CID. Methods: The panel reviewed clinical data on the management of CID reported in the literature and analyzed currently available tools used to assess CID. Expert consensus was applied when published data were insufficient. Panel members also considered the effect of CID on quality of life and the cost- effectiveness and efficacy of different pharmacologic approaches. Effective resolution of CID and decreases in the need for supportive careor hospitalization were considered to be primary goals in the formulation of the guidelines. Results: The panel formulated suggested practice guidelines for the management of CID that detail recommendations for the assessment and evaluation of diarrhea and the sequence and duration of administration of specific pharmacologic agents. Conclusion: The consensus of the panel was that standardized assessment and management of diarrhea is required to effectively control CID. The panel agreed that further data from a National Cancer Institute (NCI)sponsored intergroup trial is required to determine the optimal dosage of octreotide and its cost in the treatment of cancer. The panel also agreed that further clinical research is warranted to address significant questions about the most effective way to assess and treat CID.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3169-3178
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Oncology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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