Clinical Trial: The Effects of Honey on Febrile Neutropeniain Children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Febrile neutropenia (FN) is a common and serious side effect of chemotherapy. Current management of FN is expensive and may induce side effects. Honey is a natural substance produced by honeybees. It possesses antioxidant, antimicrobial and anticancer effects. In addition, honey is not expensive. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of 12-week honey consumption on children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) particularly with regards of FN episodes. This randomized crossover clinical trial included 40 patients of both sexes, aged 2.5 to 10 years. They were randomized into two equal groups [intervention to control (I/C) and control to intervention (C/I)]. The dietary intervention was 12-week honey consumption in a dose of 2.5g//kg body weight per dose twice weekly. The intervention resulted in a significant decrease of FN episodes and duration of hospital admission. Furthermore, the intervention improved the levels of hemoglobin and did not lead to any serious side effect. As a possible effect of honey withdrawal in the I/C group, the Hb%, the absolute neutrophil count and the platelet count decreased. This small clinical trial suggests that honey consumption might have positive effects on FN and hematologic parameters of children with ALL.