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More cytostatics as a tablet or drink

Project pharmacist Sjoukje Velthuijs, together with three colleagues, filled a digital manual of medicines for the Princess Máxima Center. There are more than 30 cytostatics added that children can swallow as a tablet or drink. The manual is a source of information for care providers and parents, because oral cytostatics also require ingenuity.

Safe administration
Project pharmacist Sjoukje Velthuijs: ‘Oral cytostatics is chemotherapy administered by mouth can be ingested. Usually this is in the form of a tablet, but it can also be a drink. It depends on the diagnosis and treatment protocol whether or not a child can be treated with oral cytostatics. The vast majority of chemotherapy (more than 150 types) is administered in parenteral form, by means of a drip, but more and more cancer drugs are coming onto the market that can be taken orally, which we then try to make suitable for administration to children.’ Sjoukje and her colleagues filled one complete manual: ‘Not all tablets can be crushed just like that, so we selected or tested each drug separately: how can we make a tablet, grind or dissolve it or give it another form? And is that safe in the Máxima Center or at home?’


The great advantage of oral cytostatics is that it can be administered at home and that it child does not have to come to the Princess Máxima Center for every donation, says Sjoukje Velthuijs. ‘Particularly with oral cytostatics, it is a challenge to keep the tablets on one safe way to administer. Some children have trouble swallowing one, sometimes hefty, tablet or have a tube. I especially like the resourcefulness of parents. It is really clever how they come up with inventive ways to administer this generally nasty medication to their child. This can be done in a responsible manner and improves comfort for their child.’