Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 286–290 | Cite as

Potential for drug interactions in hospitalized cancer patients

  • Rachel Pimenta RiechelmannEmail author
  • Frederico Moreira
  • Òren Smaletz
  • Everardo D. Saad
Original Article



To quantify the frequency of potential drug interactions unrelated to chemotherapy in cancer patients admitted to our institution, and to define risk factors for such interactions.


Charts of 100 consecutive hospitalized cancer patients were reviewed. Patients receiving chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy were excluded, as were patients admitted for intensive care. Drug–drug interactions were screened with Drug Interaction Facts software, and manually by the authors. Potential interactions were graded by levels of severity (severe, moderate, minor) and significance (one to five, with one representing the highest level of evidence).


The median age of the patients was 67 years, and the length of hospital stay and the number of drugs per patient were 6 days and eight drugs, respectively. In 63 patients 180 potential interactions were detected. Of the potential interactions, 18.3% were severe, 56.7% were moderate, and 25% were minor. Approximately 7%, 18% and 13% of potential interactions were graded as level 1, 2 and 3, respectively. In multivariate analysis, prescriptions with eight or more drugs (P=0.0004) and six or more days of hospital stay (P=0.014) were independent risk factors for potential interactions.


Potential drug interactions are common among hospitalized cancer patients. Length of hospital stay and number of prescribed drugs are risk factors.


Drug interactions Drug therapy Combination Adverse effects Neoplasms 



We thank Dr. Ian Tannock for his editorial help and thoughtful review of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Pimenta Riechelmann
    • 1
    Email author
  • Frederico Moreira
    • 1
  • Òren Smaletz
    • 1
  • Everardo D. Saad
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical OncologyAlbert Einstein HospitalSao PauloBrazil

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