Friday, March 23, 2012

Potency of Some Cancer Drugs Reduced when Combined with Common Medications

A study recently presented at a meeting of the American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics has found that many patients taking oral cancer drugs are also taking other medications that may either lower the effectiveness or increase the harmful side effects of the cancer drug.

The research, conducted by Medco Health Solutions, included pharmacy claims of roughly 11,600 patients who were taking one of nine kinase inhibitors, or oral cancer drugs. The drugs included Nexavar, Gleevec, Tasigna, Sutent, Tarceva, Sprycel and Tykerb.

Of the patients taking Gleevec, a drug used for leukemia, 43 percent were also taking another medication that could possibly lower the potency of the cancer drug. Sixty-eight percent were also taking a drug that could increase the level of toxicity of Gleevec.

The types of medications that were found to cause potentially dangerous effects when combined with the cancer drugs included proton pu,p inhibitor (PPI) heartburn drugs (i.e. Nexium and Prevacid), calcium channel blockers used for blood pressure and the heart, and certain antibiotics, antifungal treatments and steroids.

In most cases, the cancer drugs were prescribed to patients by their oncologists, and the other medications were prescribed by the patient’s primary care physician. Study authors stressed the importance of communication between the patient’s doctors. Better physician communication can help prevent dangerous combinations of prescription drugs, improving overall patient safety.

When physicians negligently prescribe a drug that has a bad interaction with another medication, patients can be seriously hurt. If you or a loved one were harmed by a doctor’s negligence, call or email the prescription malpractice attorneys at Silberstein, Awad & Miklos. We have over 30 years of experience helping clients with medical malpractice and personal injury matters. Call or email us today to discuss your possible Bronx medical malpractice, Brooklyn medical malpractice, Queens medical malpractice, Manhattan medical malpractice or Long Island medical malpractice case.

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