Supportive Care in Cancer

, Volume 24, Issue 12, pp 4971–4978 | Cite as

Multidrug infusions in a Swiss palliative care unit: assessment of frequent combinations in terms of clinical effectiveness, compatibility, and stability

  • Tanja Fusi-SchmidhauserEmail author
  • Dario Caronzolo
  • Claudia Gamondi
Original Article



The objectives of this study were to trace, monitor, and assess for clinical effectiveness, visual compatibility, and stability of commonly used combinations of drugs for patients hospitalized in a Swiss palliative care unit, over a 12-month period.


In this longitudinal analysis, commonly used multidrug combinations were monitored with a duly created data collection sheet for healthcare professionals. Assessment of visual changes of the mixtures and the evaluation of major changes in the overall symptom control over time were recorded. The clinical changes were classified according to reasonable correlation to the modality of drug administration and not to clinical evolution of the underlying disease.


Over a 12-month period, a total of 48 multidrug infusions were recorded and monitored. The infusions were composed of two, three, four, or five active principles. Infusions were given over a 24-h period, mainly intravenously, either through an implantable venous access port or a peripheral venous access. Main diluent was normal saline solution. Commonly used drug combinations included morphine and haloperidol, morphine, haloperidol and octreotide, morphine, haloperidol, octreotide, and chlorpromazine. No precipitations were observed during the study. Patients maintained a clinical stability and no salient changes in symptom control were attributed to inefficacy of the multidrug infusions.


The use of multidrug infusions for parenteral administration appears to confirm an adequate visual compatibility and stability, while maintaining effectiveness in terms of overall symptom control.


Life-limiting conditions Palliative care Parenteral therapy Multidrug infusions 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

The authors have full control of all primary data and agree to allow the journal to review the data if requested.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tanja Fusi-Schmidhauser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dario Caronzolo
    • 2
  • Claudia Gamondi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Palliative Care DepartmentInstitute of Oncology of Southern SwitzerlandBellinzonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Hospital PharmacyOspedale San GiovanniBellinzonaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Service de Soins PalliatifsCHUVLausanneSwitzerland

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