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Medco Study Finds Many Patients on Newer Oncology Treatments Are at Risk for Drug Interactions
Date:3/16/2012

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Oral cancer drugs that target key enzymes in tumor cells have made significant contributions to oncology care, freeing many patients from spending long hours at infusion centers to receive their chemotherapy treatments. But new research shows that many patients using these oral medications are also on other drugs that may prevent patients from getting the full benefit from their cancer treatment, or increase the risk of side effects. 

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100609/MEDCOLOGO )

The study by the Medco Research Institute™, the research subsidiary of Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS), is being presented today at the 2012 American Society for Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics (ASCPT) Annual Meeting. 

The research found that 23-74 percent of patients taking one of nine oral oncology medications were also on a drug that had the potential to reduce the effectiveness of the cancer treatment or increase its toxicity.   The cancer therapies studied are in a class known as oral kinase inhibitors which include the medications imatinib (Gleevec®) and erlotinib (Tarceva®).  Medications that may cause drug-drug interactions include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), steroids, calcium channel blockers and certain antibiotics and antifungal agents.   

"Oral cancer drugs represent a huge advancement in oncology treatment, but make no mistake these are powerful drugs. These high costs medications can have severe side effects and need to be actively monitored for proper use and adherence," said Dr. Milayna Subar, national practice leader at the Medco Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center®. "What's as important is knowing what other medications the patient is on. The fact that
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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