Observational studies generated doubt on the benefit of preventive medications prescribed during the last year of life among patients with life-limiting disease.
A retrospective study reveals information that shows that
• Many preventive drugs could be safely discontinued, with substantial cost savings, in the last year of life of older adults with cancer
• During the last year of life, the mean number of prescribed drugs increased from 6.9 to 10.1 per person, and the percentage of individuals using at least 10 drugs rose from 26% to 52%.
• Still in the last month of life, 60.1% of people were receiving antihypertensives, 48.1% were receiving antithrombotic agents, 30.4% were receiving antianemic preparations, 19.2% were receiving mineral supplements, 16.8% were receiving lipid-modifying agents, 14.9% were receiving drugs for diabetes, 9.2% were receiving vitamins and 3.9% were receiving bisphosphonates.
• The percentage of total drug costs corresponding to preventive drugs was 20.2% during the last year of life - costs were highest among older adults aged <80 years and among those with at least five chronic comorbidities.
Researchers conclude "… the use of preventive drugs should be reconsidered in light of the patient's goals of care, values, and preferences … reducing the therapeutic burden in individuals with advanced cancer has the potential to not only reduce unnecessary adverse effects and improve patient quality of life, but also to reduce the financial burden for patients
See reference for more information.
Adapted from Medscape News & Perspectives. Preventive drugs could be safely discontinued in elderly with advanced cancer. Internet. Available at https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/911157. Accessed on April 30, 2019. To view the entire article and all other content on the Medscape News & Perspective site, a free, one-time registration is required.