Unnecessary Antiemetic Drug Treatment May Be Common Among Patients Receiving Chemo

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Many patients with cancer who receive intravenous chemotherapy who are at low emetic risk may receive unnecessary prophylactic antiemetic drug treatment.
Many patients with cancer who receive intravenous chemotherapy who are at low emetic risk may receive unnecessary prophylactic antiemetic drug treatment.

Many patients with cancer who receive intravenous chemotherapy who are at low emetic risk may receive unnecessary prophylactic antiemetic drug treatment, according to a population study published in JAMA Oncology.1

Researchers analyzed data from 8545 patients across 122 cancer care hospitals, evaluating health insurance claims to determine the possibility of the over-prescription of prophylactic antiemetic drugs for those at minimal or low risk.

Among the observed patients, the researchers identified 2464 patients with minimal emetic risk who had undergone 22,619 administrations of chemotherapy, as well as 6081 patients with low emetic risk who had undergone 50,958 administrations.

RELATED: Overspending on Antiemetic Drugs Not Decreasing, Despite ASCO Guidelines

A total of 47.8% of patients with low emetic risk and 2.8% of patients with minimal emetic risk were prescribed serotonin receptor antagonists and dexamethasone.

It is estimated that unnecessary prophylactic antiemetic drug treatment among these patients had a cost of 170 million yen (approx. $1.6 million).

Reference

  1. Okuyama A, Nakamura F, Higashi T. Prescription of prophylactic antiemetic drugs for patients receiving chemotherapy with minimal and low emetic risk. JAMA Oncol. 2016 Nov 3. doi:10.1001/jamaoncol.2016.4096 [Epub ahead of print]

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