What is Combination Therapy?
Combination therapy (also referred to as polytherapy) refers to the use of multiple medications or therapies to fight a disease. Combination therapy is distinct from monotherapy, which utilizes only one treatment option to fight a cancer. Many times, these terms refer to the simultaneous administration of multiple medications to treat a single problem. However, the term is also used to describe other types of therapy that are implemented in a simultaneous fashion.
Combination therapy may be implemented through the administration of separate drugs, or, where available, by prescribing combination drugs with different dosage levels and active ingredients. Combination therapy is used to treat several diseases, including: tuberculosis, cancer, malaria, HIV/AIDS, mesothelioma and leprosy. The primary benefit of combination therapy is that it will reduce the development of drug resistance, because a tumor or pathogen is less likely to sustain multiple drugs simultaneously.
How is Combination Therapy Used to Treat Mesothelioma?
Combination therapy is employed on mesothelioma patients to destroy the disease’s cancerous tumors with a multi-pronged attack. Typically, combination therapy is prescribed within chemotherapy; the combined effect does not include multiple treatment options, but instead, multiple chemotherapy drugs. Combination chemotherapy consists of the use of multiple chemicals to achieve whole destruction of tumors and cancer cells. For instance, combination chemotherapy may include the act of prescribing different drugs to attack cancer cells at varying stages of growth or different intensities. Utilizing combination chemotherapy will ultimately reduce the likelihood of drug resistance.
Combination chemotherapy for mesothelioma cancer is known to improve the survival rate of mesothelioma sufferers. Another advantage of this particular mesothelioma treatment option is that it can be perpetually be adjusted by tinkering with the drugs (and dosages) employed. Unfortunately, combination chemotherapy yields severe side effects, including vomiting, nausea, hair loss and extreme fatigue.
Oncologists who implement combination chemotherapy will typically be the individuals who decide on which drugs are implemented in combination chemotherapy. The oncologist’s decision will be based on the kind of mesothelioma cancer, the stage of the cancer, the toxicity of the individual chemicals and the health and the age of the patient. As a general rule, the individual rules in the combination regimen must be effective against their cancer on their own.
The most common drugs used in mesothelioma combination chemotherapy are Alimta and Cisplating.