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  • Author: Shereen Elazzazy x
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Nancy Kassem, Halima El Omri, Mohamed Yassin and Shereen Elazzazy

Introduction: Rasburicase is a urate oxidase enzyme used for prophylaxis and treatment of hyperuricemia associated with TLS. The recommended dose of rasburicase is 0.2 mg/kg/day for 5 days; however, recent studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of a single rasburicase dose in prophylaxis and management of hyperuricemia associated with TLS. Our institution’s TLS guideline was updated to recommend the use of a single rasburicase dose (0.2 mg/kg). The primary objective of this study was to assess the efficacy of a single rasburicase dose in controlling uric acid (UA); the secondary objective was to evaluate the impact of the institutional TLS guidelines update on consumption and cost of rasburicase. Methods: This is a single center retrospective cohort study including all patients who received rasburicase from August 2012 to March 2016 at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) in Qatar. Patients were divided into 2 groups based on the prescribed number of rasburicase doses (single dose vs multiple doses). Collected data included patients’ diagnosis, laboratory parameters rasburicase dose, duration, and number of dispensed vials. UA levels within 24 hours and on day 5 of initial rasburicase dose were evaluated. Risk stratification was determined according to institutional guidelines based on disease, white blood cell count, lactate dehydrogenase level, renal function, and UA level. Results: A total of 103 patients who received rasburicase were evaluated retrospectively; rasburicase was prescribed as single dose for 65 patients (63%) and multiple doses for 38 patients (37%). The majority of patients who received rasburicase as single or multiple doses were at high risk of developing TLS, representing 68% and 84%, respectively. Baseline mean UA levels were similar in both groups: 5.4±2.9 mg/dL vs 4.7±3.2 mg/L respectively (P=.7). Normal or undetectable UA levels were observed within 24 hours in 98% of patients in the single dose group and 100% of patients in the multiple doses group. All patients in both groups had normal UA on day 5 of rasburicase with relatively similar UA levels: 1.5±1.2 mg/dL vs 0.8±1 mg/dL (P=.18). Rasburicase consumption and cost were reduced by 42.5% after the guidelines update. Conclusion: The single rasburicase dose demonstrated efficacy in controlling serum UA levels. Updating the institutional TLS guidelines had a significant impact on rasburicase consumption and led to significant cost reduction.

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Rehab Abdelwahab, Anas Hamad, Randa Al Okka, Mohd A. Wahid, Khalil Ullah Shibli, Wael Saleem, Ahmed El Geziry, Fathi Saleh, Kakil Rasul and Shereen Elazzazy

Background: Up to 70% of cancer patients experience pain during the course of illness (Fallon, Support Care Cancer 2008). Studies showed that 40%–50% of patients with cancer pain receive insufficient analgesia due to different factors. Physicians are facing different challenges to accurately assess pain which might affect drug selection and pain control (Beyeler et al, Support Care Cancer 2008; Salminen et al, Support Cancer Care 2008; Stewart, Ulster Med J 2014). In NCCCR, treating physicians may prescribe analgesics to their patients or refer them to the Pain Management Service (PMS) based on their evaluation or as requested by patients. This study explored the factors which might lead to undertreatment of cancer pain in Qatar. In addition, focused on cancer patients’ pain management satisfaction and PMS awareness. Objectives: To assess the existing PMS at NCCCR from patients' perspective. Methods: In this study, we evaluated patients’ pain management perception via a validated written (Arabic and English) questionnaire (SF-MPQ-2; available at; Gauthier et al, J Pain 2014) and a structured interview by outpatient pharmacists at a single point of time, to assess patients` awareness towards the PMS, if they are receiving pain medications or not, if they are experiencing any pain regardless on pain medications or not, pain severity, and patients’ level of satisfaction towards their medications. A sample of 400 patients was randomly selected amongst the total cancer population visiting NCCCR Pharmacy over a specific period of time. Participants were consented and interviewed. Results: 400 patients agreed to participate; the median age was 50. Male to female ratio was 3 to 7. Data showed that 61% (245/400) of participants were not aware of the existence of the PMS. Only 20% (78/400) were aware and followed by PMS, with a satisfaction rate of 76% (59/78). Although 69% (276/400) of the patients were on pain medications, only 70% (191/276) were satisfied with their current medications. However from the satisfied patients, 57% (109/191) rated their pain as 4–10 at the time of interview (ATI). In the 31% (124/400) that were not taking any pain medications; 77% (96/124) didn’t know about the PMS, and 44% (55/124) had 4–10 pain severity (ATI). Conclusion: These findings provide clear evidence that factors leading to undertreating of cancer pain in Qatar might be unawareness of the PMS existence, pain treatment by unspecialized physicians, and patients’ reluctance to express their pain. Thus, raising patients’ awareness and standardizing the referral criteria can improve pain control and quality of life amongst cancer patients.