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Prescribing inconsistencies in prostate cancer treatment in the UK when using LHRHAs

London, 12 December 2006 -- Eighty-four percent of GPs and 76 percent of specialists (uro-oncologists or urologists) agree that there is a significant legal risk associated with off-label prescribing in prostate cancer when there is a licensed alternative available, according to new survey data released today.[1] Despite this, 46 percent of specialists felt that primary care commonly changes the recommended Leutinising Hormone-Replacement Hormone agonist (LHRHa) when referring management of patients to the community.

The Need for a Data Driven Solution

The data show that nearly all (92 percent) specialists, GPs, oncology pharmacists and specialist urology nurses surveyed agree that patients should receive an LHRHa with supporting clinical evidence wherever possible. Zoladex (goserelin) is licensed for all stages of prostate cancer suitable for hormonal manipulation.[2] Also, it is the only LHRHa with a proven survival benefit in adjuvant treatment in high risk localised disease and in adjuvant treatment of locally advanced prostate cancer when compared to surgery or radiotherapy alone.[3],[4],[5] However, when asked to differentiate between goserelin and another LHRHa not licensed for all stages of prostate cancer suitable for hormone manipulation, 75 percent of GPs and 42 percent of specialists felt in their view that the clinical evidence was the same.

Commenting on the data, Dr Heather Payne, Consultant Clinical Oncologist in Urological Tumours, University College Hospital, London stated: "Prostate cancer is a complicated disease and can be treated in several different ways. Depending on the stage of the cancer, a clear understanding of the supporting clinical evidence for treatments should guide prescribing decisions. As healthcare professionals, we need to provide patients with the best evidence-based treatment and care at all times."

Secondary and Primary Care Divide

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Contact: Marianne Thrall
mthrall@hillandknowlton.com
20-741-33733
Hill and Knowlton
12-Dec-2006


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