To describe patterns of utilization, survival and infectious events in patients treated with rituximab at the University Hospital of Siena (UHS) to explore the feasibility of combining routinely collected administrative and hospital-pharmacy data for examining the real-world use of intravenous antineoplastic drugs.
A retrospective, longitudinal cohort study was conducted using data from the Hospital Pharmacy of Siena (HPS) and the Regional Administrative Database of Tuscany (RAD). Patients aged ≥18 years with ≥1 rituximab administration recorded between January 2012 and June 2016 were identified in the HPS database. Anonymized patient-level data were linked to RAD. Rituximab utilization during the first year of treatment was described using HPS. Hospital diagnoses of adverse infectious events that occurred during the first year of follow-up and four-year survival were observed using RAD.
A total of 311 new users of rituximab were identified: 264 patients received rituximab for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) and 47 were treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Among new users with one complete year of follow-up (n = 203) over 95% received rituximab as the first-line treatment, and approximately 70% of them received 5-8 doses. No patient in the CLL group received >8 administrations. Four-year survival was approximately 70% in both CLL and NHL patients. Sepsis was the most frequent infectious event observed (5.1%).
HPS and RAD provided complementary information on rituximab utilization, demonstrating their potential for future pharmacoepidemiological studies on antineoplastic medications administered in the Italian hospital setting. Overall, this general description of the real-world utilization of rituximab in patients treated for NHL and CLL at UHS was in line with treatment guidelines and current knowledge on the rituximab safety profile.