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“Adjunctive Effects of a Short Session of Music on Pain, Low-mood and Anxiety Modulation among Cancer Patients” – A Randomized Crossover Clinical Trial

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Chamath Gunasekara Vidana Mestrige Fernando
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>17/07/2020
<mark>Journal</mark>Indian Journal of Palliative Care
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Pages (from-to)367 - 373
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Pain, a distressing symptom frequently suffered by cancer patients, is inherently associated with anxiety and depression yet often not alleviated with pharmacotherapy alone. This study was aimed at assessing the effect of an instrumental classical music listening session as an adjunct to the ongoing therapies, on pain, anxiety, and mood modulation in cancer patients.

Materials and Methods:
A randomized crossover open clinical trial was designed involving adult resident patients suffering pain at a tertiary cancer care institution. The same group of patients (n = 24) were monitored for selected outcomes without (day 1) and then with administration of music (day 2). The primary (subjective) outcomes such as pain, anxiety, and mood levels measured on visual analog scale and surrogate (objective) parameters such as pulse rate, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, respiratory rate, and pupillary size monitored were compared utilizing paired-sample t-test.

Statistically significant improvements were noted in all three subjective parameters; pain and anxiety were significantly diminished until the 4th h (P = 0.007 and P = 0.0022, respectively), while low mood remained alleviated until the 12th h reading point (P = 0.007). Statistically significant reductions were present in surrogate end points such as pupillary size (P = 0.003 up to 12 h) and respiratory rate (P = 0.01 up to 8 h). Declines noted in the heart rate, and blood pressure readings were statistically insignificant. None suffered deterioration of their existing well-being.

Hence, we conclude that culturally familiar instrumental classical music demonstrates a significant effect in alleviating pain, anxiety, and low mood as an adjunct to on-going therapies in cancer patients.