Recent drug shortages have forced doctors to improvise in treating many conditions -- including cancer. When a preferred drug is not available, a similar substitute is prescribed with the hope of positive treatment outcome. Until recently, doctors were unaware of the effectiveness of cancer drug substitutes in comparison with preferred treatment, but a new study has revealed that drug substitutes may be less effective. Additionally, the study showed an increase in recurrence among patients who were unable to receive preferred treatment drugs.
Researchers studied data from 181 non-Hodgkins lymphoma sufferers, comparing treatment outcomes and details of those who received the preferred treatment drug against the substitute. 88 percent of those who received the preferred treatment remained cancer free versus 74 percent who received the substitute.
Who would have thought that in this day and age we would experience a shortage of cancer drugs that are essential to a favorable outcome? Sad, but true, the US is facing a major shortage of some cancer drugs. Those taking methorexate or Doxil are hurting the worst, as slow and delayed production by the drugmakers have caused a substantial shortage. It doesn't stop at these two cancer drugs, unfortunately. There is a shortage of over 200 different drugs used to treat a variety of diseases and conditions, according to The American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists (ASHP). Want to check to see if your drug is in short supply? The ASHP has an interactive tool that allows you to check the status of your drugs.