TRC Conversation: Oncology Treatment Side Effects

May 19, 2015

Interventions from specialty nurses in the Oncology Therapeutic Resource Center® help patients have safer treatment outcomes.

  • Cancer

What Happened?

A 69-year-old woman was diagnosed with hepatocellular cancer that has recently metastasized to her spine. She was prescribed Nexavar® (sorafenib), and experienced adverse events that included arthritic pain and an upset stomach.

Specialty Nurse Intervention

An Accredo specialty nurse reached out to the patient and reviewed her prescription history and overall therapy.

The nurse discussed the patient’s adverse effects and suggested changes to her regimen to help mitigate these effects, such as taking her medication two hours after a meal.

The nurse then transferred the patient to a specialty pharmacist to further discuss concerns around over-the-counter drug interactions.

Preventing Gaps in Care

Adverse side effects often influence patient nonadherence to oncology treatment.

After speaking with the specialty pharmacist, the patient understood which drugs would interact with her oral oncology medication. She was able to take certain pain medications to allivaite her arthritic back pain. She was also equipped with a plan to take her medication two hours after eating to help lessen stomach pain. This helped to ensure she would be adherent to her therapy.

Managing Oncology Therapy Side Effects 

This is a recording of an actual call between a patient and an Accredo specialty nurse. The patient’s voice has been altered to protect the patient’s privacy.

Why It Matters

Oncology specialty nurses and pharmacists have the training and experience necessary to identify causes that may lead to therapy failure and resistance. Specialty nurses will interact with the patient and the patient’s healthcare team to address such things as drug interactions, side effects, abnormal doses and therapy omissions. Therapy failure and resistance can lead to increased costs and decreased quality of life due to potential worsening of the condition and hospitalization.

A strong roster of specialty nurses focusing on patients with needs in a specific area, like cancer, is one of the unique ways Express Scripts helps patients stay on the right treatment and avoid unnecessary, harmful, adverse events.

Click to download an overview of this conversation.

Author Bio

Lab Staff
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