Comparison of dosing schedules for drugs to treat bone metastases
Cancer sufferers with bone metastases receive drugs on a monthly basis to reduce the risk of fractures and the release of excess calcium into the bloodstream. However, taking these drugs on a long-term basis can have potential side effects, such as calcium deficiency, kidney dysfunction and open sores of the jaw bone. The latest studies indicate that administering the drugs only every three months rather than every month is similarly effective but is associated with a lower risk of side effects.
The report compared the efficacy, safety, costs and benefits of the active agents zoledronate and denosumab on the basis of a literature review, studies and cost comparison models. Comparing trimonthly to monthly dosing, the analyses only showed minimal differences in terms of potential side effects, such as calcium deficiency and the risk of fractures, while the efficacy was the same. If doctors treated patients on a trimonthly dosing interval from the outset, this would result in potential savings of over CHF 53 million in the next five years.
However, on account of the sparse data, the report cannot draw any definitive conclusions.