A national survey investigating UK prescribers' opinions on chemotherapy dosing and 'dose-banding'.
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AIMS: The primary purpose of dose-banding for cancer chemotherapy is to reduce patient waiting times, but dose-banding also has additional benefits, such as reduced drug wastage, reduced stress for staff, and prospective quality control of infusions. However, the uptake of dose-banding seems fairly low. Possible reasons for this are a reluctance to use dose-banding for clinical reasons or a lack of awareness. Despite the seemingly minor change from established practice of dose preparation, dose-banding has the potential to alter patient chemotherapy exposure. The aim of this study was to investigate prescribers' awareness of dose-banding and their opinions on the scope and limitations of dose-banding in the context of UK chemotherapy services. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This survey was performed throughout the UK by use of a postal questionnaire, which was validated before national distribution to 1104 oncologists and haematologists. The questionnaire contained both quantitative and qualitative elements. A database was created for data entry and analysis. RESULTS: The response from prescribers was encouraging for a postal questionnaire, with a 35% response rate (387 responses). Many were aware of the concept of dose-banding (>80%) and were also supportive of the system. The weakness around body surface area-based dosing was a commonly discussed topic. However, opinions on which is the maximum acceptable deviation from the prescribed dose with dose-banding were controversial, and there was a concern about the lack of evidence to support the use of dose-banding. The views on whether carboplatin and targeted therapies should be dose-banded were also divided. CONCLUSIONS: There was general support for dose-banding, but concerns about the lack of an evidence base could be a barrier to the wider introduction of the system. Consequently, more clinical studies are required to justify the safety and efficacy of dose-banding, and also to evaluate whether dose-banding is acceptable within clinical trials.
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