Practical Issues for Pharmacists
There has recently been a paradigm shift in the treatment of patients with cancer. Traditionally, cancer chemotherapy has been given through the intravenous (IV) route. However, in the past 15 years, the number of available oral chemotherapeutic agents has more than doubled. In addition, approximately 30% to 35% of antineoplastics currently being developed are in an oral formulation.1 Oral formulations offer many advantages for patients, including convenience, potential for reduced side effects, and enhanced quality of life. Several studies have shown that between 63% and 89% of patients would prefer an oral therapy if efficacy were not compromised.2-4
Background: Oral chemotherapy has an ever-increasing role in the treatment of patients with cancer, but high cost increases the risk for primary nonadherence or “nonfulfillment.” Non-fulfillment is defined as failure to obtain a prescribed medication. Proven methods to decrease nonfulfillment rates for oral chemotherapy are lacking in the literature.
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