HealthDay News — Potentially inappropriate medication (PIM) use is relatively prevalent among patients with breast or colorectal cancer, though it is not associated with most adverse outcomes, according to a study published online April 24 in Cancer.

Meghan S. Karturi, MD, from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and colleagues examined the impact of PIM use among 1,595 and 1,528 patients (aged 66 years or older) with stage II or III breast or colorectal cancer, respectively, receiving adjuvant chemotherapy. PIM use was identified using the Drugs to Avoid in the Elderly (DAE) list and the Beers criteria. 

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The researchers found that the baseline PIM frequencies were 22.2 and 27.6% according to the DAE list and Beers criteria, respectively, for patients with breast cancer, and 15.5 and 24.8%, respectively, for patients with colorectal cancer. Overall, 37.5% of patients with breast cancer had at least 1 adverse outcome; correlations included use of at least 5 medications, advanced stage, higher comorbidity, and previous emergency room visits/hospitalizations. In patients with breast cancer, baseline PIM use according to the DAE list was correlated with elevated risk of death. Forty-five percent of patients with colorectal cancer had 1or more adverse outcomes; correlations included use of at least 5 medications, older age, female sex, and higher comorbidity. Baseline PIM use was not associated with most outcomes.

“Although polypharmacy was associated with adverse outcomes, PIMs were not associated with poor clinical outcomes in cancer patients receiving systemic therapy,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Pfizer.

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