Drug administration frequency and provider office visit patterns for oncology patients during treatment with erythropoietic agents: an analysis of four observational studies.
BACKGROUND: Several drug administration regimens of epoetin alfa (EPO) and darbepoetin alfa (DARB) are used for the management of anemia in cancer patients in the clinical practice setting. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of the present analysis was to assess whether drug administration regimens were associated with differences in the number of provider office visits and hemoglobin assessments during treatment with these agents. METHODS: Data from 4 observational studies that examined treatment patterns of EPO and DARE and health care resource utilization were analyzed. These studies, selected based on the availability of office visit and/or hemoglobin determination data during the course of treatment, included a retrospective chart review, 2 retrospective claims analyses, and an ongoing prospective patient registry. The treatment patterns and oncology-related provider visits and/or the frequency of hemoglobin evaluations among the studies were reported. RESULTS: Data from 15,845 cancer patients were included in the analysis. The patient demographic and baseline characteristics were similar across all 4 studies; patients were predominantly women (62%-71%) with a mean age range of 56 to 63 years. Mean treatment duration ranged from 7.1 to 8.4 weeks without significant differences between EPO and DARE in any study. Weekly and extended (at least every 2 weeks [> or =Q2W]) drug administration frequencies were observed in both treatment groups. The most frequent drug administration schedule for EPO was once weekly (53%-75% of patients), and for DARE Q2W (67%-73%). Despite the difference in erythropoietic agent administration frequency, no significant differences were observed between EPO and DARB for either the number of oncology-related provider visits or the number of hemoglobin assessments. CONCLUSIONS: The frequency of oncology-related provider visits and hemoglobin assessments appears to be independent of the EPO and DARB administration frequency. These findings might provide useful information for health care providers and oncology patients in understanding patterns of care during treatment with erythropoietic agents