Patients' lived experiences with antineoplastic medicines for the management of malignant solid tumours: a systematic review

Alison Brincat, Patricia Vella Bonanno, Derek Stewart, Anita E. Weidmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Background Antineoplastic medicines affect the patients' physical and psychosocial well-being posing challenges for patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals. However, little is known about the patients' lived experience with medicines (PLEM) for antineoplastic treatment. It is the lived experience that gives meaning to each individual's perception of a particular phenomenon which is influenced by internal and external factors relevant to the individual. Objectives To critically appraise, synthesise and present the available evidence of patients’ lived experience with antineoplastic medicines prescribed for the management of malignant solid tumours. Method A systematic literature search was conducted in six electronic databases for articles published in English with no date restrictions. The search terms were related to beliefs, practice and burden in relation to patient, antineoplastic medicines, tumours and lived experience. Study selection, quality assessment and data extraction were performed independently by 2 reviewers. Research findings were analysed using narrative and meta-synthesis approaches. Results The search retrieved 31,004 articles with only 10 studies satisfying the inclusion and exclusion criteria. These studies were published between 2005 and 2016 in Europe (n = 6), America (n = 3) and Asia (n = 1). Nine themes were identified to contribute to the patients’ lived experience with antineoplastic medicines. These were (a) influence from family members, healthcare professionals, media and culture, (b) general attitude towards medicine, (c) accepting medicine, (d) modifying or altering medicine regimen or dose, (e) medicine characteristics, (f) medicine routine, (g) medicine adverse events, (h) medicine and social burden and (i) healthcare associated medicine burden. Patients tend to undergo a continuous process of reinterpretations of their experience with medicines throughout their treatment journey. Conclusion The use of antineoplastic medicines has a profound effect on the patients’ lives. Further longitudinal in-depth studies are required to provide deeper insight into PLEM and support patients in their treatment journey.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages14
JournalResearch in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
Early online date30 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jun 2019


  • solid tumour
  • antineoplastic medicines
  • patients' lived experience with medicine
  • medicine-taking practice
  • medicine-related beliefs
  • medicine-related burden


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