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Level of Reimbursement Influences Physician Prescribing for Serotonin Receptor Antagonists

WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Decision Resources, Inc., one of the world's leading research and advisory firms for pharmaceutical and health care issues, finds that reimbursement level is the most influential factor in restricting physician use of serotonin receptor antagonists (SRAs), agents that effectively prevent nausea and vomiting in even the most severe reactions to chemotherapy.

"Because SRAs are expensive, their cost becomes prohibitive without reimbursement," notes Alice von Loesecke, Ph.D., director of PhysicianForum at Decision Resources. "Although the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the Association of Health-System Pharmacists have attempted to contain costs by restricting use of these agents to high risk patients, their attempts have failed. Physicians use SRAs in the majority of patients," continues von Loesecke, "irrespective of emetogenic risk. Of physicians surveyed, 45% report unrestricted use of SRAs and 50% report use in patients at moderate or high risk of nausea and vomiting."

The primary research PhysicianForum report entitled The Management of Chemotherapy Side Effects also finds that Amgen's keratinocyte growth factor (KGF) will enjoy widespread uptake by physicians, particularly for patients at high risk for severe mucositis. Mucositis is a common side effect of aggressive high-dose chemotherapy. This side effect causes the mucous linings in the mouth and throat to become raw, inflamed, and irritated. Typically, the painful condition lasts for just over a week.

"Surveyed physicians indicate that KGF will be used in 75% of patients at high risk for severe mucositis and in nearly 40% of patients at high risk for mild/moderate mucositis," continues Dr. von Loesecke. "KGF will be used most heavily for mucositis associated with treatment of colorectal cancer, followed by mucositis associated with treatment of breast cancer."

The Management of Chemotherapy Side Effects is based on a survey of 83 high-prescribing oncologists located throughout the United States. Their responses were compared to assess similarities and differences in clinical, economic, and scientific factors.

About PhysicianForum

PhysicianForum is a new primary research service from Decision Resources. The service offers access to high-volume prescribing PCPs, specialists, and managed care organization representatives in the United States; analysis of events and survey participants' responses to them; insight into prescribing patterns; and an examination of the implications for the pharmaceutical market.

About Decision Resources

Decision Resources is a world leader in research publications, advisory services, and consulting designed to help clients shape strategy, allocate resources, and master their chosen markets. The company has provided strategic information services for 30 years, assessing international pharmaceutical and health care industry trends. Visit Decision Resources at

Source: Decision Resources, Inc.

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