Background Oral anticancer agents are more convenient to use and better tolerated than traditional intravenous therapy but come with significant concerns about patient noncompliance, adverse effects, and high cost. Identifying areas for improvement in the medication use process may help ensure optimal use of these agents.
Methods 30 patients who were receiving oral anticancer therapy were administered a brief survey during their visits to an ambulatory Department of Veterans’ Affairs oncology clinic where pharmacists are heavily involved in providing initial and follow-up medication use education. Veterans aged 18 years or older were considered for inclusion into the study if they were currently being treated with an oral anticancer medication from a specified list for at least 1 month. Topics addressed included drug information sources, regimen compliance, management of side effects, and cost. The results were results were analyzed using univariate descriptive statistics.
Results Most of the patients were satisfied with their oral treatment, reporting ease of use with minimal side effect occurrence. Oncologists and pharmacists were equally named as sources of drug information.
Limitations Sample size was small and patients were overwhelmingly male. Response bias may be partially responsible for the observed results for regimen management, side effect occurrence, missed doses, and overall treatment satisfaction.
Conclusion Oral anticancer therapy represents a significant therapeutic advance for many types of cancer. Pharmacists can serve as vital informational resources to these patients. Further studies examining the role of pharmacist-led educational programs in terms of overall patient outcomes are warranted.