Family members, caregivers must take precautions from exposure to targeted drugs
There is a growing number of targeted therapies being approved for use in cancer therapy in the home setting, and this poses a potential risk among family member and caregivers, particularly those of reproductive risk age, a recent study suggests.
The findings show that most of the oral targeted therapeutics have not been tested for carcinogenicity and that the genotoxicity data are mixed. However, majority of these drugs show adverse reproductive effects, of which some are severe.
Furthermore, data that are currently available do not permit the possibility of a health hazard from inappropriate handling of drugs and contaminated patients’ waste to be ignored, especially in a long-term home setting.
There is a need for overall basic education and related precautions in order to protect family members and caregivers from indirect or direct exposure to these drugs, according to researchers, adding that further research and discussion on this subject are warranted.
In this study, researchers performed a systematic literature review and summarized the known adverse health effect of 32 oral targeted therapeutics. They particularly assessed the carcinogenicity, genotoxicity and embryo-foetal toxicity, together with the route of excretion.
“With the growing number of oral targeted therapies being approved for use in cancer therapy, the potential for long-term administration of these drugs to cancer patients is expanding,” researchers said.
“The use of these drugs in the home setting has the potential to expose family members and caregivers to them either through direct contact with the drugs or indirectly by exposure to the parent compounds and/or their active metabolites in contaminated patients’ waste,” they added.