The use of psychotropic medications in the treatment of cancer

  • Daniel J. Friedenson
Part of the Cancer Treatment and Research book series (CTAR, volume 30)


This chapter will focus on the use of psychotropic medication to treat depression, anxiety, and acute confusion and agitation. Psychotropic medications are almost certainly underused in patients with cancer. A frequent lack of appreciation of the patient’s level of emotional distress, particularly depression [1], coupled with a certain therapeutic nihilism, may account for this lack of vigor in an area where the physician actually stands a good chance of helping the patient. Psychotropic drug use in seriously ill patients requires special care. The presence of significant cardiac, pulmonary, hepatic, renal, gastrointestinal, or endocrinologic disease may create specific pharmacologic dilemmas. The discussion of psychotropic drug use in cancer patients which follows is, by necessity, selective. Any reader wishing a more comprehensive discussion of these specific situations is referred to several excellent reviews [2–5].


Psychotropic Medication Antipsychotic Medication Antidepressant Medication Target Dose Extrapyramidal Side Effect 
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© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, Boston 1986

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  • Daniel J. Friedenson

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