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Does carboplatin cause neuropathy?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD. Last updated on Oct 5, 2021.

Official answer


Peripheral neuropathy is uncommon when conventional doses of carboplatin are used, but patients over 65 years of age may be at higher risk. Carboplatin may be associated with peripheral neuropathy in about 4% to 15% of patients.

If carboplatin is combined with other neurotoxic cancer treatments, or used at higher doses or for prolonged periods, the risk of more severe neuropathy may increase.

Peripheral neuropathy due to cancer treatments (chemotherapy) can cause symptoms of pain, weakness, and numbness from nerve damage, usually in the hands and feet. Symptoms of neuropathy may persist, or even worsen, for months after drug treatment is stopped.

Carboplatin is a platinum-based chemotherapy agent, but neuropathy symptoms with carboplatin treatment tend to be mild in most cases. Anticancer drugs that are commonly associated with more severe neuropathy include the platinum agents cisplatin and oxaliplatin.

What do studies say?

In clinical studies when ​​a carboplatin regimen was compared to a cisplatin regimen in 393 patients for the treatment of ovarian cancer, peripheral neuropathy occurred in 16% of patients receiving the carboplatin regimen compared to 42% in the cisplatin regimen arm, a significant difference.

Patients older than 65 years of age or previously treated with cisplatin may be at a greater risk of neuropathies, in up to 10% of patients. However, in 70% of patients pretreated with cisplatin who had already developed peripheral neurotoxicity, their symptoms did not worsen with carboplatin therapy.

Other neurologic complications of carboplatin therapy may include retinal (eye) toxicity that may lead to vision loss and ototoxicity that may lead to hearing loss or ringing in the ears (tinnitus), although these side effects tend to be more common with cisplatin.

This is not all the possible side effects that may occur with carboplatin. Talk with your doctor about any possible side effects before treatment with this medicine.

Learn More:

Carboplatin: Side Effects, Warnings and What to Avoid

This is not all the information you need to know about carboplatin for safe and effective use and does not take the place of talking to your doctor about your treatment. Review the full carboplatin information here, and discuss this information and any questions you have with your doctor or other health care provider.


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