Objective: In late 1970s, occupational exposure to antineoplastic agents was reported. Various countries, including Japan, have published guidelines for handling antineoplastic agents. Surveys are still being conducted to determine the levels of environmental exposure to antineoplastic agents at individual hospitals, and incidents of contamination are often reported. This study provides details regarding a literature survey conducted to evaluate the actual state of environmental contamination by antineoplastic agents and identify the related issues in order to promote environmental monitoring.
Methods: The literature search was carried out from January 1, 1990 to July 31, 2017. PubMed and Ichushi-Web were searched with the following keywords: “antineoplastic agents,” “occupational exposure,” “surface contamination,” and “environmental monitoring.”
Results: Following the literature search, 117 papers were included in the analysis. The findings showed that contamination by antineoplastic agents was widely reported in hospitals and places where antineoplastic drugs were not handled. The findings of this study regarding the actual state of environmental exposure are partial, as there is a lack of information on retail pharmacies and homes of outpatients who have received chemotherapy.
Discussion: Therefore, further investigation is warranted. In addition, according to the current Japanese guidelines, published in 2015, environmental surveillance is not required to reduce contamination by antineoplastic agents. To promote environmental monitoring, we feel that it is necessary to determine a new survey method and the clarify optimum interval of environmental monitoring.
Objective: Ritodrine, a β agonist, is a uterine tocolytic agent used to suppress preterm labor. In 2013, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that short-acting β agonists should be used for a maximum of 48 h. However, in Japan, they are widely used for long-term therapy (＞48 h). The EMA recommendation was informed to physicians by pharmacists. We retrospectively evaluated the safety of ritodrine by comparing outcomes before and after the provision of drug information (DI). We investigated whether the physicians' knowledge of the DI of ritodrine influenced performance, and affected the dose administered and the number of side effects reported.
Methods: Women administered ritodrine for preterm labor between November 2011 and December 2015 were included in this single-centered retrospective study, which comprised two groups: before (Pre, from November 2011 to November 2013) and after (Post, from December 2013 to December 2015) DI provision. The frequency of cardiovascular side effects was the primary endpoint and the rate of long-term use was the secondary endpoint. The chi-squared test was used for statistical comparison and p＜0.05 was considered to indicate a significant difference.
Results: The study comprised 91 patients administered ritodrine for preterm labor: 43 in the Post and 48 in the Pre. The frequency of cardiovascular side effects was 48.8 and 45.8 % in the Post and Pre, respectively (p＝0.64). The rate of long-term use was 65.1 and 79.2 % in the Post and Pre, respectively (p＝0.13).
Conclusion: The DI provided by pharmacists increased physicians’ awareness of ritodrine use, which may have improved the safety of the drug. Thus, the provision of DI by pharmacists may enhance patient safety by promoting behavioral change in physicians.
Objective: The objective of this study was to examine information quality by quantitatively evaluating newspaper stories on drug therapy using the “Media Doctor” instrument.
Methods: A database search was conducted to extract newspaper stories on drug therapy published between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017. Two evaluators independently evaluated each story using the “Media Doctor” instrument. Each of the 10 evaluation criteria were rated as “satisfactory” or “not satisfactory.” When the content of the story was not suitable for the evaluation criteria, it was regarded as “not applicable”.
Results: Fifty-nine news stories (Asahi: 13, Mainichi: 8, Nikkei: 8, Sankei: 14, Yomiuri: 16) were included. The median number of evaluation criteria that the two evaluators judged as “satisfactory” was 5. The proportions of stories that the two evaluators judged as satisfactory were “1. availability,” 73%; “2. novelty,” 66%; “3. alternatives,” 39%; “4. disease mongering,” 58%; “5. evidence,” 32%; “6. quantification of benefits,” 31%; “7. harm,” 41%; “8. cost,” 22%; “9. sources of information/conflict of interest,” 12%; and “10. headline,” 66%. Conversely, the proportions of stories judged as “not satisfactory” were “1. availability,” 0%; “2. novelty,” 5%; “3. alternatives,” 12%; “4. disease mongering,” 8%; “5. evidence,” 24%; “6. quantification of benefits,” 29%; “7. harm,” 41%; “8. cost,”44%; “9. sources of information/conflict of interest,” 32%; and “10. headline,” 12%.
Conclusion: These results suggest that the quality of newspaper stories are insufficient as drug information in terms of the validity of its scientific evidence.
Objective: “Drug Guide for Patients” (DGP) is a drug information tool designated as one of the routine risk minimization activities in risk management plan (RMP) developed by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. However, patients and their families hardly recognize DGP. Therefore, we administered a questionnaire on drug consultation service of pharmaceutical companies that provide DGP with an aim to collect their views, elucidate problems when they prepare DGPs and examine effective utilization of DGP in the future.
Methods: We sent a questionnaire by letter for 127 drug consultation service of pharmaceutical companies, and received questionnaire results using “Questant” that is web questionnaire making software. The results were examined using Fisher’s exact test or Pearson’s chi-squared test.
Results: We obtained responses from 84 (66.1%) companies out of 127. As for the question of the published situation of DGP on their website, the most companies responded “Not published” with 47.6% and subsequently 41.7% for “Published for healthcare professionals”. The combined rate of “Published for Patients (3.6%)” and “Published for both healthcare professionals and patients (7.1%)” was only 10.7%. On the other hand, regarding the burden of companies making DGP, we found that more than 60% of pharmaceutical companies (63.5%) felt burdensome, whereas only 36.5% responded “Not burdensome.” Regarding the question on the role of DGP in RMP, pharmaceutical companies answered that the role is “sufficient” 3.6%, 29.8% “not sufficient”, and 66.6% “unknown”.
Conclusion: Our results suggested that it is difficult for patients to get DGP from website of pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical companies felt burdensome in making DGP, and they recognized that DGP was not very much utilized by patients. Therefore, it would be necessary to improve the creation criteria of DGP. Furthermore, we felt it necessary to have the DGP known and utilized widely by (consumers and) patients.