Friday, December 5, 2008

-Futile medications in cancer patients.

With early diagnosis and better therapy, life expectancy/survival in cases of cancer has improved dramatically. In many cases of cancer, all that is required is good palliative care.

Such patients take many medications, and many of them may be unnecessary. Now there is a study regarding Futile medication use in terminally ill cancer patients.
Futile medications were defined as unnecessary ( no anticipated short term benefit to patients for survival, quality of life or symptom control) or duplicate ie 2 or more drugs from the same pharmacological class.

The results were better than i expected. About 20% (only?, i think more) terminally ill cancer patients are on futile medications, most commonly Statins (56%). The most common duplication of medication was for the benzodiazepines class.(no surprises there!).

As a doctor, many-a-times i am "forced" to write medications i know is not required by the patient. I usually use this tactic as a placebo.What do you think of use of such "Futile" medications in cancer patients?
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