Use of complementary medications among older adults with cancer

Authors

  • Ronald J. Maggiore MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Sections of Geriatrics/Palliative Medicine and Hematology/Oncology, University of Chicago Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cary P. Gross MD,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center and Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kayo Togawa MPH,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • William P. Tew MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Gynecologic Medical Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Supriya G. Mohile MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Cynthia Owusu MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Heidi D. Klepin MD,

    1. Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Stuart M. Lichtman MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Commack Medical Oncology Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Ajeet Gajra MD,

    1. Department of Medicine, Section of Hematology/Oncology, State University of New York Upstate Medical University and Syracuse Veterans Administration Medical Center, Syracuse, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Rupal Ramani BS,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Vani Katheria BSc,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Shira M. Klapper BS,

    1. Department of Medicine, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Kurt Hansen BS,

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Arti Hurria MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte, CA 91010
    Search for more papers by this author
    • Fax: (626) 301-8898

  • on behalf of the Cancer and Aging Research Group

    1. Department of Medical Oncology, Cancer and Aging Research Program, City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Presented as a poster at the 2011 American Geriatrics Society Annual Scientific Meeting; May 11-14, 2011; National Harbor, Maryland.

  • R.J.M., C.P.G., K.T., W.P.T., S.G.M., C.O., H.D.K., S.M.L., A.G., and A.H. were involved in the study concept and design as well as analysis and interpretation of the data. C.P.G., W.P.T., S.G.M., C.O., H.D.K., S.M.L., A.G., R.R., V.K., S.M.K., K.H., and A.H. were involved in patient acquisition. All authors contributed to the preparation and finalization of the article.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Little is known about complementary medication use among older adults with cancer, particularly those who are receiving chemotherapy. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of complementary medication use and to identify the factors associated with its use among older adults with cancer.

METHODS:

The prevalence of complementary medication use (defined as herbal agents, minerals, or other dietary supplements, excluding vitamins) was evaluated in a cohort of adults aged ≥65 years who were about to start chemotherapy for their cancer. The associations between complementary medication use and patient characteristics (sociodemographics; comorbidities; and functional, nutritional, psychological, and cognitive status), medication use (number of medications and concurrent vitamin use), and cancer characteristics (type and stage) were analyzed.

RESULTS:

The cohort included 545 patients (mean age, 73 years; range, 65-91 years; 52% women) with cancer (61% stage IV). Seventeen percent of these patients (N = 93) reported using ≥1 complementary medication; the mean number of complementary medications among users was 2 (range, 1-10 medications). Complementary medication use was associated with 1) earlier cancer stage (29% had stage I-II disease vs 17% with stage III-IV disease; odds ratio [OR], 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.21-3.49) and 2) less impairment with instrumental activities of daily living (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.12-1.73).

CONCLUSIONS:

Complementary medication use was reported by 17% of older adults with cancer and was more common among those who had less advanced disease (i.e., those receiving adjuvant, potentially curative treatment) and higher functional status. Further studies are needed to determine the association between complementary medication use and cancer outcomes among older adults. Cancer 2012. © 2012 American Cancer Society.

Ancillary