The increase in oral chemotherapy for the treatment of cancer offers many patients a more convenient and less invasive treatment option compared with intravenous IV therapy administered in a clinical setting. Oral chemotherapy offers several advantages over the parenteral route. Among the biggest advantages are patient convenience and flexibility in timing and location of administration. Oral chemotherapy also may lessen the use of health care resources for inpatient and ambulatory patient care services. Lastly, a better quality of life may be associated with oral chemotherapy compared with parenteral chemotherapy. Whereas oral chemotherapy agents afford patients convenience and en hanced satisfaction, several concerns can arise that are unique to these agents.
Oral chemotherapy for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Oral Chemotherapy: What You Need to Know
Cancer treatment is always evolving, with new techniques regularly being approved. Oral chemotherapy is a relatively recent development that makes treatment more convenient for eligible patients by allowing them to take medication at home. This type of cancer treatment is taken in the form of a daily pill or liquid, allowing for less frequent medical appointments. Over the past 20 years, more than 50 new oral anticancer medications OAMs have become available to treat many different cancers, including lung, leukemia, colorectal, kidney, and prostate. A recent study by several Fox Chase Cancer Center physicians showed that both providers and patients face barriers to starting oral chemotherapy when it comes to insurance. This is largely due to the fact that insurers cover OAMs as a prescription drug benefit, whereas IV chemotherapy is covered as a medical procedure. The distinction can lead to delays from the time an OAM is prescribed until the patient receives the medication.
Oral chemotherapy medication adherence is a challenge for many patients and caregivers for many reasons, including side effects, finances, and lack of education and resources. Medication adherence is crucial in oncology to delay disease-free survival and progression-free survival. Pharmacists can help play a large role in educating patients and assisting them with issues related to oral chemotherapy. This article will discuss review papers and guidelines for oral chemotherapy adherence techniques, the role of the pharmacist, and resources to promote oral chemotherapy adherence.
But many chemotherapy drugs come in oral form, either as a liquid you can drink or a tablet you can swallow. Most people with cancer need more than one type of treatment. Other treatments may include surgery, radiation therapy, and immunotherapy.