Oral chemotherapy: balancing convenience with medication risks
In some cases these medicines can be taken at home, however there is a need to monitor the treatment to ensure it is safe and effective.
Writing in the February edition of Australian Prescriber, Christine Carrington says that the safe delivery of oral chemotherapy, whether for the treatment of cancer or other conditions, requires collaboration between a group of health professionals and the patient (or carer).
“Serious toxicities and fatal outcomes can occur if the dose instructions are not followed. Written and verbal information about dose instructions, side effects, handling and storage of these medicines is essential,” writes the author.
“It’s essential that a clear treatment plan is written by the treating specialist and shared with the patient and carer as well as with other health professionals. Chemotherapy is well known to cause side effects such as infections, nausea, vomiting, kidney and liver damage. Patients and carers should be informed about how to manage these and know when to contact their doctor.”
Australian Prescriber is an independent peer-reviewed journal providing critical commentary on therapeutic topics for health professionals, particularly doctors in general practice. It is published every two months and distributed to health professionals free of charge, and is also available online at www.australianprescriber.com
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