Successful Treatment of Acute Radiation Proctitis with Aloe Vera: A Preliminary Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial.
J Altern Complement Med. 2017 Jun 15. Epub 2017 Jun 15. PMID: 28618234
BACKGROUND: Acute radiation proctitis (ARP) is a common side-effect that affects up to 50% of patients receiving radiotherapy. The aim of this study was to evaluate the role of a topical preparation of Aloe vera in the treatment of ARP induced by radiotherapy of pelvic area.
SUBJECTS AND INTERVENTIONS: In this double-blind placebo-controlled trial, 20 consecutive patients with ARP after external-beam radiation therapy (46-72 Gy) of pelvic malignancies were randomized to receive either Aloe vera 3% or placebo ointment, 1 g twice daily for 4 weeks. These patients presented with at least two of the following symptoms: rectal bleeding, abdominal/rectal pain, diarrhea, or fecal urgency. These symptoms were rated by thepatients in terms of their severity (grade 0-4) for each of the symptoms mentioned earlier at baseline and then weekly for 4 weeks. A symptom index was calculated by the addition of the scores (16 most symptomatic). Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) acute toxicity criteria and psychosocial status of the patients were also recorded weekly. The lifestyle impact of the symptoms was assessed by questionnaire grading from 0 (no effect on daily activity) to 4 (afraid to leave home).
RESULTS: There was a significant (p < 0.05) improvement in the symptom index (before treatment vs. after treatment with Aloe vera) for diarrhea (median score: 0.67 vs. 0.11), fecal urgency (median score: 0.89 vs. 0.11), clinical presentation total (median score: 4.33 vs. 1.22), RTOG total (median score: 2.89 vs. 0.89), and lifestyle(median score: 1.1 vs. 0.33). Hemorrhage and abdominal/rectal pain did not improve significantly. The odds ratios for advantage of Aloe vera over placebo for"clinical presentation total"and"RTOG total"were 3.97 (1.3-11.9) and 5.9 (1.6-21.6), respectively.
CONCLUSION: A substantial number of patients with radiation proctitis seem to benefit from therapy with Aloe vera 3% ointment.