Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Potential drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions among ambulatory cancer patients: a prevalence study using an advanced screening method

Roelof WF van Leeuwen12, Eleonora L Swart1, Frits A Boom2, Martin S Schuitenmaker2 and Jacqueline G Hugtenburg13*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Pharmacy, VU University medical center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Zaans Medical Center, Zaandam, The Netherlands

3 EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University medical center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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BMC Cancer 2010, 10:679  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-10-679

Published: 13 December 2010



The pharmacotherapeutic treatment of patients with cancer is generally associated with multiple side-effects. Drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions between anti-cancer drugs or interactions with medication to treat comorbidity can reinforce or intensify side-effects.

The aim of the present study is to gain more insight into the prevalence of drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions among patients being treated in the outpatient day care departments for oncology and hematological illnesses. For the first time the prevalence of drug interactions with OTC-drugs in cancer patients will be studied. Possible risk factors for the occurrence of these drug-related problems will also be studied.


A multicenter cross-sectional observational study of the epidemiology of drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions is performed among all oncology and hemato-oncology patients treated with systemic anti-cancer drugs at the oncology and hematology outpatient day care department of the VU University medical center and the Zaans Medical Center.


In this article the prevalence of potential drug interactions in outpatient day-care patients treated with anti-cancer agents is studied using a novel more extensive screening method. If this study shows a high prevalence of drug interactions clinical pharmacists and oncologists must collaborate to develop a pharmaceutical screening programme, including an automated electronic warning system, to support drug prescribing for ambulatory cancer patient. This programme could minimize the occurrence of drug related problems such as drug interactions and duplicate prescriptions, thereby increasing quality of life.

Trial registration

This study is registered, number NTR2238.