Efficacy of dexrazoxane (Savene®) for the treatment of anthracycline extravasation


#IVTEAM #Intravenous literature: Vidall, C., Roe, H., Dougherty, L. and Harrold, K. (2013) Dexrazoxane: a management option for anthracycline extravasations. British Journal of Nursing. 22(17), Supplement, p.S6-S12.


Aims: This article reviews the efficacy and place in therapy of dexrazoxane (Savene®) for the treatment of anthracycline extravasation, highlighting the lack of inclusion of Savene in most UK cancer network and organisational treatment guidelines. Here we offer advice to nurses on making a case to ensure the availability of Savene. Key findings: In 2010, the UK National Extravasation Information Service (NEXIS) green card scheme reported that anthracyclines were the second most common agent involved in extravasations, but they carry the greatest risk to the patient because of their potentially serious consequences. Anthracycline extravasations therefore require prompt and effective treatment. Due to the infrequent occurrence of anthracycline extravasations, their accidental nature and ethical considerations, conducting randomised controlled clinical trials in this therapy area is not possible. As treatment decisions should always be made on patient-specific factors, health professionals need to demonstrate the rationale for choosing a particular course of action when presented with an anthracycline extravasation, especially when we are moving into an era of increased medical litigation. There are several possible treatment options, some of which require demonstrable local core competencies in order to be considered for a particular patient. Based on the available evidence, Savene-the only licensed antidote-is recommended as an effective management strategy for anthracycline extravasation and should be made available in all settings where chemotherapy is administered. However, a high percentage of nurses administering chemotherapy still do not have access to Savene, as it has not been included in their local guidelines for the management of extravasations. Thus, in a large part of the UK, this important treatment option is not available, leaving a significant unmet need (Figure 1). Conclusions: As nurses play a key role in the prevention, detection, and management of extravasations, they should also assume a key role in ensuring that their local protocols include all appropriate management strategies. Where appropriate, if Savene is not included in the treatment guidelines, nurses should feel empowered to encourage their trust and Specialist Commissioning Groups (SCGs) to make it available, and thus minimise the serious risks associated with anthracycline extravasations.

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