Pharmacist assessment needed to prevent inappropriate medications in elderly cancer patients
Current prescribing practices in elderly patients with cancer can be optimized if clinical pharmacists will evaluate potentially inappropriate medications, suggests a recent study.
A total of 114 cancer patients (mean age, 71.78 years; 55.26 percent male) were included. Hypertension and diabetes were the most common concurrent diseases, occurring in 45 (39.47 percent) and 26 (22.81 percent) patients, respectively.
Of the patients, 94.73 percent had polypharmacy, receiving at least five medications. According to the Screening Tool of Older Person’s Prescriptions criteria, 18 patients (17.79 percent) used their medications inappropriately. Furthermore, 112 patients (98.25 percent) had medication omissions according to the Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment criteria.
In an earlier study involving 1,329 patients in one region in southern Ireland, results showed that potentially inappropriate drug prescribing and errors of medication omission were highly prevalent among older people living in the community. [Br J Clin Pharmacol 2009;68:936-947]
Another study found an increase in the number of potentially inappropriate medications globally during hospitalization, with a statistical analysis showing that the comorbidity affected the level of inappropriate prescriptions. It further suggested for clinicians to make use of specific tools to guide them towards a more rational use of medicines and reduce probable multidrug-related complications. [Int J Clin Pharm 2016;38:462-468]
The current study assessed potentially inappropriate medication use in elderly patients with cancer at an outpatient oncology clinic from December 2014 to March 2015. Potentially inappropriate medication in this cohort was identified using the Screening Tool of Older Person's Prescriptions/Screening Tool to Alert doctors to Right Treatment criteria.