Early Post-Therapy Prescription Drug Usage among Childhood and Adolescent Cancer Survivors

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Abstract

Objective

To describe the patterns of prescription drug use among child and adolescent survivors of cancer in the early post-therapy period compared with matched peers without a cancer history.

Study design

Using the MarketScan commercial insurance claims database, we performed a retrospective cohort study identifying survivors of pediatric (0–21 years of age at diagnosis) leukemia, lymphoma, central nervous system, bone, or gonadal cancers who completed therapy from 2000 to 2011 and remained insured for 3 years post-therapy. Prescription fills during the first 3 years post-therapy were examined, categorized by drug class, and compared with age-, sex-, and region-matched individuals without cancer.

Results

We identified 1414 survivors and 14 007 comparators. Compared with those without cancer, survivors had 1.5–4.5 times greater risk for filling opioids. Survivors of leukemia, lymphoma, central nervous system, and bone cancers had 2–5 times the risk for antidepressant and 3–7 times the risk for anxiolytic use. Survivors of leukemia, lymphoma, and bone tumors had 3–13 times the risk for angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors by the third year post-therapy.

Conclusion

Compared with peers without cancer, survivors of childhood cancer have greater rates of prescription use across many drug classes, suggesting greater medical morbidity. Survivors were more likely to use opioid, psychoactive, hormone, and cardiovascular medications. All general pediatricians and subspecialists should be aware of potentially emerging morbidities during the early post-therapy period to guide risk-based surveillance and survivorship care.

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