Recent evidence suggests that using ice mittens during taxane chemotherapy can prevent the development of peripheral neuropathy from these neuro-toxic drugs. The application of cold mittens to the extremities causes the local blood vessels to constrict, which decreases circulation of the drug to these areas and protects the peripheral nerves. Here are some guidelines on the proper use of ice mittens for the prevention of painful neuropathy and nail changes while receiving taxane chemotherapy, particularly during Taxol infusions.
Ask your chemotherapy clinic if ice mittens are available. Some locations have these for patient use. If unavailable, ice mittens can be purchased online and brought with you to the clinic in a cooler. It is recommended that 2 pairs of mittens are purchased so they can be switched once the first pair warms up.
Apply ice mittens once your pre-medications are complete, before the Taxol infusion begins
When the mittens begin to warm, switch to the second pair
Wear the mittens as long as possible. When no longer tolerated, the fingers become overly numb or start to hurt, remove the mitts for the rest of the infusion
DO NOT alternate between cold and warm gloves – this can increase circulation to the area, which has the potential to increase nerve damage. Ice mittens can also be applied to the feet.
To learn more contact us at the IHC Cancer Care Centre receptionist via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 604-888-8325, option #1.
Hanai A, et al. Effects of Cryotherapy on Objective and Subjective Symptoms of Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy: Prospective Self-Controlled Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2018, 110(2):141-148
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Sarah Soles, BSc., ND