Medications

We should know what medications we are putting into our bodies, how they work, and what they do. While most of us are not healthcare professionals, it is especially critical to learn how medications may interact with other medications and affect other medical conditions we may have. This section of our website delves deeply into classifications of medications, their mechanisms of action, indications for use, approval status, and much more.

Action Items for Medications

Ask yourself what is important in deciding about your medications.

CLL Society argues that the odds of overall survival (OS) should be near the top of your list, but other factors might include:

  • Progression free survival (PFS) and response rates
  • Side effects
  • Oral versus IV
  • Limited duration or continuous therapy until intolerance or progression
  • Cost
  • Avoiding chemotherapy (drugs that broadly target any rapidly replicating cells)
  • Experimental or approved

Understand the classes of drugs.

Understand the classes of drugs such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapies, and cellular therapies that are explained in their subsections.

Consider your comorbidities.

Consider your status in terms of your comorbidities (other illnesses) such as heart or kidney disease that could influence therapy choice, and your CLL/SLL status. Are you on other medications that might interact with potential CLL treatments? Is this your first or a later treatment? Do you have high risk disease?

Know if your CLL is high-risk or advanced

If your CLL/SLL journey is advanced, or your disease is high risk, maybe a clinical trial or a drug combination would be a good choice to review. Using drugs that work in very different or “orthogonal” ways from each other may lower the risk of developing resistance.

Strictly adhere to your physician's recommended drug schedule.

Drugs don’t work for patients who don’t take them. Do not make timetable or dosage alterations.

Learn about clinical trials.

CLL Standard of Care medications are those that have already been approved by the FDA for use in CLL. Other drugs which may be beneficial to the CLL patient are being tested in clinical trials. Ask your treating physician if you are an appropriate candidate for a clinical trial drug.

Ask yourself what is important in deciding about your medications.

CLL Society argues that the odds of overall survival (OS) should be near the top of your list, but other factors might include:

    • Progression free survival (PFS) and response rates
    • Side effects
    • Oral versus IV
    • Limited duration or continuous therapy until intolerance or progression
    • Cost
    • Avoiding chemotherapy (drugs that broadly target any rapidly replicating cells)
    • Experimental or approved

Understand the classes of drugs.

Understand the classes of drugs such as targeted therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapies, and cellular therapies that are explained in their subsections.

Consider your comorbidities.

Consider your status in terms of your comorbidities (other illnesses) such as heart or kidney disease that could influence therapy choice, and your CLL/SLL status. Are you on other medications that might interact with potential CLL treatments?  Is this your first or a later treatment? Do you have high risk disease?

Know if your CLL is high-risk or advanced.

If your CLL/SLL journey is advanced, or your disease is high risk, maybe a clinical trial or a drug combination would be a good choice to review. Using drugs that work in very different or “orthogonal” ways from each other may lower the risk of developing resistance.

Strictly adhere to your physician’s recommended drug schedule. 

Drugs don’t work for people who don’t take them. Do not make timetable or dosage alterations.

Learn about clinical trials.

CLL Standard of Care medications are those that have already been approved by the FDA for use in CLL. Other drugs which may be beneficial to the CLL patient are being tested in clinical trials. Ask your treating physician if you are an appropriate candidate for a clinical trial drug.