Background Oral chemotherapy is increasingly used in Oncology. It has important advantages, such as patient comfort, but it also brings new challenges which did not exist with the intravenous treatment. Some of these drugs have interactions with food, leading to changes in their bioavailability. As they are drugs with a narrow therapeutic margin, this can lead to alterations in their efficacy and/or toxicity.
Purpose A. To assess the level of knowledge on the administration of oral cytostatics that present restrictions with meals (drugs that have to be taken with/without food) among the outpatients of a third level hospital. B. To minimise the incorrect administration and the risk of food-drug interactions, providing patients with information as to how and when drugs have to be administered.
Material and methods Once the oral cytostatics with food restrictions were identified, we asked the patients in treatment about the information they had received from the doctor and the way they were taking the medicine. We provided those who were taking the drug incorrectly with the right information. In the following visit, it was confirmed if the patients who had previously been taking the cytostatic incorrectly, were now taking them correctly (intervention accepted/not accepted).
Results 97 patients were interviewed (54% men, 46% women). 40% of them were used to taking the drug incorrectly. Of this percentage, 77% correspond to patients treated with capecitabine, 8% with lapatinib, another 8% with temozolomide, and finally 3% with abiraterone, erlotinib and pazopanib, respectively. We detected a great diversity depending on the drug dispensed. 95% of the 39 interventions made were accepted.
Conclusion The data obtained suggest the need to reinforce the information that the patient receives. It is important to make sure that the patient understands how and when the oral cytostatic should be administered.
Charity D. Drug interactions in cancer therapy. Nature Rev Cancer 2006;6:546–58
ReferenceNo conflict of interest.
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