Drug Use Evaluation of Letrozole in Breast Cancer Patients at Regional Cancer Hospitals in Thailand

  • Published : 2015.09.02


Background: Medication policy development in Thailand is continually promoting rational drug use. Letrozole, an endocrine therapy drug, is usually prescribed for post-menopausal status early and advanced stage breast cancer. After Ministry of Public Health announced Letrozole as compulsory licensed drug in 2009, more breast cancer patients can access to this drug at low cost especially those within universal coverage schemes. To ensure that Letrozole is rationally prescribed, the drug utilization study was conducted. Objectives: The aim of this study was to describe the appropriate use of Letrozole in breast cancer and the relationship between appropriate use and health benefit schemes. Materials and Methods: A retrospective study to evaluate use of Letrozole in breast cancer patients was performed for six months between January - June 2010 in seven regional cancer hospitals, Thailand. All prescriptions of Letrozole were identified from pharmacy dispensing databases and prescription papers. A medical record review was also performed to evaluate appropriate use referring to the drug use evaluation criteria. The approved criterion of this study was referred from the guideline of Thai National Formulary version 2010. Results: There were 681 prescriptions of Letrozole for 254 breast cancer patients with an average age of $58.6{\pm}10.0years$. The patients in universal coverage scheme (UCS), civil servant medication benefit scheme (CSMBS) and social security scheme (SSS) were 77.7%, 18.5% and 8.7% respectively. 10.6% were prescribed Letrozole for the first time. Letrozole were prescribed by oncologists (82.8%). The average number of tablets per prescription was $58{\pm}10$. Calcium supplements were prescribed concomitant with Letrozole for 19.4%. To assess drug use evaluation criteria, 45 prescriptions were excluded because of uncompleted clinical data, 636 prescriptions were evaluated. The study showed 86 prescriptions (13.5%) with inappropriate use including 6 (0.9%) not prescribed for estrogen receptor (ER) and/or progesterone receptor (PR) positive, 31 (4.9%) not prescribed for post-menopausal and 49 (7.7%) not prescribed for an appropriate duration. Appropriate use percentages in different health benefit schemes were similar, 85.7% of CSMBS, 86.4% of SSS and 86.7% of UCS. The relationship between health benefit scheme and appropriate use of Letrozole was not significantly different, ${\chi}^2$ (2, N = 636) = 0.081, p > 0.05. Conclusions: The study showed inappropriate use in breast cancer patients because of non-compliance with duration, menopausal status and hormone receptor requirements. To prescribe appropriate indication did not referred to the appropriate practice along the treatment. Drug use evaluation proved very useful for detecting the sign of inappropriate use and allows immediate feedback to the stakeholder for developing medication policy in the future. Importantly, there was no significantly difference in appropriate use of Letrozole across health benefit schemes.


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