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Topical Balm Reduces Taxane-Related Nail Damage

Monday, June 12, 2017
A group of researchers in the United Kingdom evaluated the effectiveness of a natural nail balm in preventing or mitigating nail damage, which is a common adverse effect of taxane chemotherapy. They investigated whether a topical nail bed balm containing bioactive, polyphenolic-rich, African salvia officinalis and gaultheria procumbens in a natural base of olea europaea, butyrospermun parkii, cera alba, and theobroma cacao protected the nail beds. This natural nail balm has reported anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

Sixty patients (23 male, 37 female) were randomized to apply the natural balm or a scented petroleum balm (placebo control) to the nailbeds 3 times a day during treatment. There were no differences among patient demographics, and type and number of chemotherapy cycles between the 2 groups (all patients received taxanes). At baseline and at the end of chemotherapy treatment, both patients and physicians measured nail health outcomes. Patients completed a Dermatology Life Quality questionnaire and a linear severity scale, and physicians completed a Nail Psoriasis Index (NPSI) and a linear severity scale based on clinical examination and photographs.

The polyphenolics-rich essential oils and plant-based waxes in the natural nail bed balm significantly reduced chemotherapy-related nail damage and improved nail-related quality of life compared with the plain petroleum-based balm. The researchers recommend additional research, including studying the effect of combining the natural nail bed balm with nail bed cooling. Study findings were presented during a poster session at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting and are available here.

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Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN
Blog Info
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN is an oncology nursing consultant and editor-in-chief of Oncology Nursing News.
Author Bio
Lisa Schulmeister, MN, RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, is the Editor-in-Chief for OncLive Nursing. She is an oncology nursing consultant and adjunct assistant professor of nursing at Louisiana State Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, LA. She provides continuing nursing education to nurses across the Unites States, is active in several professional nursing organizations, and is intrigued by the many ways nurses use technology to communicate.
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