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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 275-282

Medication burden of treatment using oral cancer medications

1 College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
2 Department of Family Medicine, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA
3 College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USA
4 Department of Statistics and Probability, College of Natural Science, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA

Correspondence Address:
Barbara A Given
University Distinguished Professor, Interim Associate Dean for Research, College of Nursing, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/apjon.apjon_7_17

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Objective: With the changes in healthcare, patients with cancer now have to assume greater responsibility for their own care. Oral cancer medications with complex regimens are now a part of cancer treatment. Patients have to manage these along with the management of medications for their other chronic illnesses. This results in medication burden as patients assume the self-management. Methods: This paper describes the treatment burdens that patients endured in a randomized, clinical trial examining adherence for patients on oral cancer medications. There were four categories of oral agents reported. Most of the diagnoses of the patients were solid tumors with breast, colorectal, renal, and gastrointestinal. Results: Patients had 1–4 pills/day for oral cancer medications as well as a number for comorbidity conditions (>3), for which they also took medications (10–11). In addition, patients had 3.7–5.9 symptoms and side effects. Patients on all categories except those on sex hormones had 49%–57% drug interruptions necessitating further medication burden. Conclusions: This study points out that patients taking oral agents have multiple medications for cancer and other comorbid conditions. The number of pills, times per day, and interruptions adds to the medication burden that patients' experience. Further study is needed to determine strategies to assist the patients on oral cancer medications to reduce their medication burden.

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