Information source: Oncology Nursing News – Original article here
As the number of approved oral anticancer agents grows, so too does the need for oncology nursing professionals to help patients adhere to these drug regimens when they are at home to ensure patients get the most benefit from their treatment.
These are 7 oral adherence tips from nurses and pharmacists:
1-Take a personalized approach: Intense side effects from oral agents can make it difficult for patients to take their medication, and individuals respond differently to the medications.
2-Monitor for drug interactions: A patient’s tolerance of oral anticancer agents can be affected by interactions between the drug and other medications for high blood pressure, diabetes, or other problems.
3-Be on the lookout for prescription stretching: Because of the cost of oral medications, patients may take half a pill, or take a pill every other day, to make the prescription stretch, or just hold off on refilling the prescription.
4-Check in early and often – don’t wait for the patient to call you: Checking on patient’s management and tolerance of treatment as well as offering tips to handle side effects can help. And, many patients may fear calling their nurse or pharmacist, especially to discuss side effects for fear ther dosage may be reduced.
5-Alerts, alarms, or text messages: Can help, along with aligning medication times with the patient’s daily routine, for example, if the patient always watches the 6 o’clock news that can be a reminder. In addition to reminders, a weekly message can be used to ask about symptoms.
6-Cost matters: Drug costs can distress patients. Work with the healthcare team to identify grant support or contact the manufacturer for assistance.
7-Provide patient education upfront and reinforce the message: Patients must have a full understanding of what they need to do and why. Follow-up phone calls help.