To Take or Not to Take With Meals? Unraveling Issues Related to Food Effects Labeling for Oral Antineoplastic Drugs

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There has been controversy regarding whether bioavailability of certain oral oncology drugs should be maximized by taking these medications with food, irrespective of label instructions in the dosing and administration section. To provide insight into this controversy, we conducted an in-depth analysis for oral antineoplastic drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2000-2016 and identified important issues influencing food labeling decisions. Furthermore, a case study involving sonidegib, a drug approved for locally advanced basal cell carcinoma with a significant food effect on exposure, was used to demonstrate the consequences of failure to adhere to food label recommendations using drug-specific population pharmacokinetic and exposure-toxicity models. In 2000-2009, 80% (4 out of 5) of all approved oral antineoplastics with increased bioavailability in the fed state were labeled as “take on empty stomach.” In contrast, we found that in 2010-2016 there is a greater diversity in food recommendations for drugs with increased bioavailability in the fed state. Currently, many oral oncology drugs are given with food to maximize their bioavailability; however, as seen from our case study of sonidegib, failure to fully adhere to label recommendations to either take with food or not could lead to adverse consequences in terms of safety and efficacy.

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