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Pharmacotherapy. 2011 Feb;31(2):164-92. doi: 10.1592/phco.31.2.164.

Extemporaneous compounding of oral liquid dosage formulations and alternative drug delivery methods for anticancer drugs.

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  • 1Hematology Oncology Infusion Clinic, Kaiser Permanente Health Plan, Antioch, California, USA.


Oncology pharmacists face a constant challenge with patients who cannot swallow oral anticancer drugs, making extemporaneous oral liquid preparation a requirement. Improper extemporaneous preparation of these agents, especially with the traditional chemotherapy with a narrow therapeutic index, may increase the risk of over- or underdosing. In community pharmacies, multiple barriers exist that prevent these pharmacies from preparing extemporaneous oral anticancer drug formulations for a patient's use at home. In a home setting, patients or caregivers without proper counseling and education on how to safely handle chemotherapy are at increased risk for exposure to these drugs. Based on a review of the literature, compounding recipes are available for 46% of oral anticancer agents. A paucity of data exists on dose uniformity, bioequivalence, and stability of extemporaneous oral liquid formulations of anticancer drugs. Pharmacists must have an understanding of the basic scientific principles that are an essential foundation for the proper preparation of extemporaneous oral anticancer liquid formulations. The collaborative effort of a multidisciplinary team can also help identify different barriers in the community setting, especially in areas where community pharmacies may lack resources for the extemporaneous compounding of oral chemotherapy, and to find ways to coordinate better pharmaceutical care. There are great opportunities for oncology pharmacists, as well as community pharmacists, as a resource for educating and monitoring patients receiving oral chemotherapy to ensure dosing accuracy, safe administration, and proper disposal of hazardous drugs. Development of national guidelines to promote standards of practice in the community and/or home setting is urgently needed to help improve the safety of dispensing and handling oral chemotherapeutic agents, including extemporaneously compounded oral liquid formulations of these drugs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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