Pharmacists' Role in Managing Patients With Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia

Pharmacy (Basel). 2020 Mar 27;8(2):E52. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy8020052.


Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is a hematologic malignancy that has seen significant advances in care over the last 5 years with the approval of oral agents such as ibrutinib and venetoclax for the treatment of this disease. As such, there has been a substantial shift away from the traditional chemotherapy infusions which have allowed patients greater autonomy with oral cancer therapies. This paradigm shift poses new challenges for the medical team, including drug-drug interactions, adherence counseling, and financial toxicity. Pharmacists are uniquely trained and equipped to help to manage the changing landscape of CLL care. From identifying common medications which may impair ibrutinib clearance to ensuring patients are on the appropriate anti-infective prophylaxis while receiving obinutuzumab, pharmacists can play a vital role in ensuring the highest quality of patient care. Furthermore, additional credentialing of clinical pharmacists in select states allows for independent visits with the pharmacists, allowing for greater involvement, particularly for initiation of venetoclax and management of ibrutinib-induced toxicities. Pharmacists are essential to both expanding and enhancing the care of patients with CLL and should be leveraged to improve patient outcomes whenever possible.

Keywords: CLL; drug–drug interactions; ibrutinib; initiation; monitoring; pharmacist; toxicity; venetoclax.

Publication types

  • Review