Author(s): Vineeta Deshmukh
Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine is practiced even today for various illnesses especially those which are caused by reduced immune responses. Recently combinations of Ayurvedic drugs are recommended for cancer as an adjunct therapy. In the first part of this study, we have clinically assessed the efficacy of Ayurvedic drugs in alleviating side effects of radiotherapy. In the second part, we have undertaken additional studies to assess the improvement in the immune status of these patients. In both studies, the assessment was done before, after completion of radiotherapy, and one month thereafter. 70 Patients with oropharyngeal cancers with all stages and grades of the disease, who opted for radiotherapy, were enrolled for the first part of the study. Group 1 consisted of 35 patients who were treated with radiotherapy alone while Group 2 consisted of 35 patients who received combinations of Ayurvedic drugs. Ayurvedic treatment consisting of the following 4 preparations was given daily for Group 2 patients during 5 weeks of radiotherapy and 4 weeks thereafter. 1) Mauktikyukta Kamadudha 2) Mauktikyukta Praval Pan-chamrut (Herbo-mineral mixtures) and 3) Ananta Vati (Tablet of Hemidesmus indices) were given orally twice a day, while 4) Yashtimadhu Ghruta (Ghee medicated with licorice) was given as local application twice daily. To assess the clinical efficacy of Ayurvedic drugs, we have used the following criteria. • Common toxicity criteria of radiotherapy - Stomatitis, Trismus, Dysphagia, Xerostomia, Nausea, Excessive salivation and Weight loss • Karnofsky score- general well-being and activities of daily life • ECOG numerical score (Eastern Cooperation Oncology Group) - general well-being and assessment of symptoms • QLQ Scales (QLQ C 30) as per assessment criteria by EORTC (Symptom, Global and Functional scores) Results of this study show significant clinical improvement in stomatitis, trismus, dysphagia, xerostomia & nausea with p values varying between 0.004.
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