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Cytochrome P450 in Palliative Care and Hospice Kits

Quinn, Mary Jo DNP, APRN, NP-C, ACHPN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: August 2019 - Volume 21 - Issue 4 - p 280–285
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000524
Feature Articles

As hospice and palliative care populations shift from the majority having a primary cancer diagnosis to most with a noncancer diagnosis, clinicians are challenged with caring for chronically ill patients with multiple comorbidities. In addition to traditional pain and symptom management, patients’ comfort goals are frequently addressed by managing the underlying disease and comorbid conditions. As a result, many patients have extensive medication profiles. This raises the potential for drug-drug interactions at cytochrome P450 pathways that can interfere with anticipated drug response. Likewise, polypharmacy can be problematic when using palliative care order sets and hospice comfort kits to manage emergent symptoms or as the patient approaches death. This is further complicated when medications are administered before a pharmacist’s review for drug interactions. This article provides an overview of cytochrome P450 and uses an unfolding case study approach to explore interactions that may occur within a patient’s medication profile or in combination with medications commonly used by palliative care and hospice.

Mary Jo Quinn, DNP, APRN, NP-C, ACHPN, is nurse practitioner, HouseCalls, Lakeland, Florida.

Address correspondence to Mary Jo Quinn, DNP, APRN, NP-C, ACHPN, 1886 Altavista Circle, Lakeland, FL 33810 (

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Online date: March 20, 2019

© 2019 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.