Use of prescription drugs among women diagnosed with epithelial ovarian cancer in Denmark

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2018 Nov;97(11):1332-1338. doi: 10.1111/aogs.13413. Epub 2018 Jul 30.


Introduction: Epithelial ovarian cancer patients often suffer from chronic diseases requiring drug treatment. We assessed temporal patterns of drug use among women with ovarian cancer.

Material and methods: We identified all postmenopausal women with epithelial ovarian cancer in Denmark 2005-2012 and a comparison cohort of age-matched women without cancer. We calculated rates of new drug treatment and total drug use and examined use of new and prevalent drugs before and after diagnosis. Analyses were stratified by histological type and stage of epithelial ovarian cancer.

Results: We identified 2742 patients. The rate of new drug treatment increased from 3 to 5 months before diagnosis and peaked in the first month after diagnosis at 99 new types of drug therapy per 100 individuals (mainly antiemetics, proton-pump inhibitors, hypnotics, and opioids). Although declining, the rate of new drug use remained substantially higher among epithelial ovarian cancer patients than among controls throughout the 3-year postdiagnosis follow-up period. The number of prevalent drugs increased slightly from a median of 4 drugs (interquartile range 2-7) before diagnosis to 5 drugs (interquartile range 2-8) shortly after the diagnosis. The use of preventive drugs decreased only slightly after diagnosis. In stratified analyses, we found limited variation according to histological type, whereas patterns were slightly more pronounced among women with nonlocalized disease compared with localized disease.

Conclusions: Drug use among postmenopausal women with epithelial ovarian cancer was substantial and varied considerably in relation to the time of cancer diagnosis, although only limited changes were seen in the use of preventive medicines.

Keywords: drug utilization; histology; neoplasm staging; ovarian neoplasms; pharmacoepidemiology.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / complications*
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / diagnosis
  • Carcinoma, Ovarian Epithelial / therapy
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Disease
  • Denmark
  • Drug Utilization / statistics & numerical data
  • Drug Utilization / trends*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / complications*
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / therapy
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Postmenopause
  • Registries
  • Time Factors