Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tamoxifen: To Crush Or Not To Crush?

1. From:

*States tamoxifen should not be crushed, but tablets can be dispersed in water.

2. From: &

Hormonal cytoxic or steroidal medicines (i.e. tamoxifen, methotrexate)

Risk assessment form requires completion if drug is to be crushed prior to administration. If the tablet is crushed, the drug may go into the air and the dose inadvertently received by the administrating nurse or carer.

3. From BCCA:

1. How can we administer an oral cancer medication to a cancer patient who has just had an NG tube inserted? For safety reasons, we were told not to crush tablets or open capsules.

Oral cancer medications that are considered hazardous or cytotoxic should not be manipulated outside of a containment cabinet (ie. Biological Safety Cabinet) due to the risk of generating Hazardous Drug (HD) powder residue causing possible HD contamination and exposure. You may try dissolving or suspending the tablet/capsule particles in an enclosed system (i.e. syringe plus water) and administering the liquid through the NG tube.

If line occlusion occurs and impedes cancer drug administration you could consider holding the drug for a few days. For example; tamoxifen has an elimination half-life of ~ 5-7 days and the half-life of its active metabolite is ~ 9-14 days, so it is possible to hold tamoxifen therapy for ~2 weeks.

If the oral cancer medication cannot be withheld, it may be possible to compound it into a liquid dosage form. All activities likely to result in particle or aerosol generation, such as crushing tablets/capsules or compounding/pouring of oral solutions should be performed in a Biological Safety Cabinet (BSC) or Isolator. Oral solutions for hospital inpatients should be prepared in the pharmacy and dispensed to the ward in unit dose syringes. The nurses should not measure doses from a bottle.


BCCA Division of Pharmacy. BCCA Pharmacy Practice Standards for Hazardous Drugs. 2008.


Any other thoughts out there on how to handle the situation where tamoxifen tablets cannot be swallowed?


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Pharmacy History

"The earliest known compilation of medicinal substances was ARIANA the Sushruta Samhita, an Indian Ayurvedic treatise attributed to Sushruta in the 6th century BC. However, the earliest text as preserved dates to the 3rd or 4th century AD.
Many Sumerian (late 6th millennium BC - early 2nd millennium BC) cuneiform clay tablets record prescriptions for medicine.[3]

Ancient Egyptian pharmacological knowledge was recorded in various papyri such as the Ebers Papyrus of 1550 BC, and the Edwin Smith Papyrus of the 16th century BC.

The earliest known Chinese manual on materia medica is the Shennong Bencao Jing (The Divine Farmer's Herb-Root Classic), dating back to the 1st century AD. It was compiled during the Han dynasty and was attributed to the mythical Shennong. Earlier literature included lists of prescriptions for specific ailments, exemplified by a manuscript "Recipes for 52 Ailments", found in the Mawangdui tomb, sealed in 168 BC. Further details on Chinese pharmacy can be found in the Pharmacy in China article."

From Wikipedia:

Journal of Palliative Medicine - Table of Contents

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