Potential Role of Bupropion Sustained Release for Cancer-Related Fatigue: a Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study

Document Type : Research Articles


1 Department of Hematology and Oncology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, School of Pharmacy,, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.

3 Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran.


Background: Cancer-related fatigue (CRF) is very common and can be experienced at all stages of disease and in
survivors. CRF causes patients more distress than pain or nausea and vomiting. Different pharmacologic interventions
have been evaluated for the management of CRF. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of bupropion
sustained release (SR) as a treatment for fatigue in patients with cancer. Methods: In this randomized, double-blind,
placebo-controlled trial, patients with fatigue due to cancer were randomly assigned to either 150mg daily of bupropion
SR or matching placebo. The primary endpoint was the changes in average daily fatigue from baseline to week 4 using
the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness-therapy- Fatigue (FACIT-F) questionnaire. Results: 40 patients were
randomly assigned to treatment with bupropion SR or placebo (20 in each group). Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA)
showed a significant improvement in fatigue and quality of life in the bupropion group compared to baseline (P=0.000).
Secondary outcome, including depression, severity of fatigue and performance status didn’t show significant difference
between groups. Generally, bupropion SR was tolerated well. Conclusion: Four weeks of 150 mg bupropion SR
improve fatigue significantly in cancer patients. Bupropion has potential as an effective and safe pharmaceutical agent
for treating CRF.


Main Subjects