Edmonton, Alberta—Pharmacists should raise a red flag when certain patients being treated for gastric cancer also have a prescription for proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) or are purchasing OTC formulations of the drugs, according to a new Canadian study. The report in JAMA Oncology notes that the common medications can decrease effects of capecitabine, a type of chemotherapy usually prescribed to gastric cancer patients. The University of Alberta–led study, which included more than 500 participants, found that PPIs affected progression-free survival by more than a month, that the overall survival in cancer patients was reduced by more than 2 months, and that the disease control rate was decreased by 11%. Study authors suggest caution in prescribing PPIs to patients on capecitabine. If those drugs are necessary because of gastrointestinal bleeding issues, they recommend other types of chemotherapy be considered.

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