Reactions and interactions in handling anticancer drugs.

  • Paul D'Arcy
  • Published 1983 in Drug intelligence & clinical pharmacy

Abstract

The clinical toxicity of anticancer drugs has been well documented with regard to the adverse effects of treatment in patients. However, many of these drugs have a direct irritant effect on the skin, eyes, mucous membranes, and other tissues. Handled without due care, especially when being prepared for injection, most cytotoxic drugs can cause local toxic or allergic reactions; they also present hazards of carcinogenicity and mutagenicity. This spectrum of potential risk should be kept in mind by personnel administering or handling these drugs, especially in oncology units where just a few individuals may routinely and frequently reconstitute many doses of cytotoxic agents. This is work in which the hospital pharmacist should and must be involved; indeed, many of the techniques and skills required are identical with those used in standard aseptic procedures for preparing pharmaceutical products. Pharmacy departments should take the initiative in making hospital staff aware of the potential risks of handling neoplastic agents, and they should spearhead a multidisciplinary assessment for producing local guidelines for working with these drugs. This article warns practitioners about the inherent dangers of these practitioner-drug interactions and suggests ways in which they may be reduced. Information is given in tabular form regarding recommended procedures for reconstituting 24 anticancer drugs and precautions to protect the personnel handling them, especially when there is spillage of powdered or liquid drugs. Also, guidelines are given about incompatibilities with admixtures of such drugs, and the literature is reviewed relative to recent developments in hospital pharmacy departments where reconstitution of anticancer drugs has been incorporated into existing intravenous fluid preparation/admixture units. Not only has this been shown to be safer and more effective in terms of time and labor, but also it has cut the cost of injectable cytotoxic drugs by an appreciable percentage.

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@article{DArcy1983ReactionsAI, title={Reactions and interactions in handling anticancer drugs.}, author={Paul D'Arcy}, journal={Drug intelligence & clinical pharmacy}, year={1983}, volume={17 7-8}, pages={532-8} }