Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer that affects women worldwide. It occurs when abnormal cells in the breast grow uncontrollably, forming a lump or a mass that can spread to other parts of the body. Breast cancer treatment often involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. However, the development of targeted therapies has revolutionized breast cancer treatment in recent years, improving patient outcomes and reducing the side effects associated with traditional treatments.
Palbociclib is a drug used in the treatment of certain types of breast cancer. It belongs to a class of drugs known as cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, which work by blocking the activity of CDK4 and CDK6 enzymes that promote the growth and division of cancer cells. Palbociclib is specifically approved for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive (HR+) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) breast cancer that has spread to other parts of the body (metastatic breast cancer).
Clinical studies have shown that palbociclib, when used in combination with certain hormonal therapies, can significantly improve the progression-free survival (PFS) of patients with metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer. In fact, the FDA approved palbociclib based on the results of a clinical trial that demonstrated a median PFS of 24.8 months for patients treated with palbociclib plus letrozole (a hormonal therapy), compared to 14.5 months for those treated with letrozole alone.
Palbociclib is usually administered orally, once daily, in 28-day cycles. The dosage and duration of treatment may vary depending on a patient's individual circumstances, such as their age, weight, and overall health. It is important for patients to follow their healthcare provider's instructions for taking palbociclib, and to report any side effects they may experience.
Common side effects of palbociclib include fatigue, nausea, decreased appetite, diarrhea, and hair loss. It may also cause a decrease in white blood cell count, which can increase the risk of infection. Patients taking palbociclib should have their blood count monitored regularly, and may need to temporarily stop treatment or have their dosage adjusted if their white blood cell count drops too low.
Palbociclib is not suitable for all patients with metastatic HR+/HER2- breast cancer, and healthcare providers will consider a patient's individual circumstances before prescribing this medication. Patients should inform their healthcare provider of any medical conditions or medications they are taking before starting palbociclib treatment.
Recently, breast cancer therapy in India became more affordable.A significant milestone was the expiration of the patent on Pfizer's medicine Palbace in India at midnight on January 10th, opening the market to generic competition. Palbociclib, the drug's generic name, is used to treat metastatic breast cancer at advanced stages. Prices of Palbociclib have dropped significantly over night for all three strengths 75 mg, 100 mg, and 125 mg as branded generic competition has entered.
According to experts, lower pricing from reputable companies are a major relief for patients because they will make the drug more accessible and more affordable. Companies like Sun Pharma have launched the medication along with a Patient Support programme, which is anticipated to further increase compliance. With at least 10-15 companies set to launch, branded generic competition is likely to increase in the future. This will result in even cheaper prices, which will benefit patients more.