Increase in Multiple Myeloma Medication Adverse Event Reports During the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Analytical Investigation
Abstract – The COVID-19 pandemic caused unprecedented disruptions to healthcare, as public health measures and facility limitations delayed screenings, diagnosis, and treatment of cancers. This research assesses the impact of the pandemic on the care of patients with multiple myeloma. The study thoroughly analyzed adverse event reports for nine multiple myeloma medications. This included dexamethasone, lenalidomide, pomalidomide, rituximab, pembrolizumab, daratumumab, bortezomib, carfilzomib, and ixazomib. For each biopharmaceutical, adverse event reports increased from 2020 to 2021. Lenalidomide demonstrated the most dramatic increase in reported adverse events, with a 61% rise from 32,992 cases in 2020 to 53,089 cases in 2021. Pomalidomide also demonstrated a significant increase in the absolute number of reported adverse events, with a 34% rise from 10,005 cases in 2020 to 13,392 cases in 2021. Other medications exhibited notable increases, with dexamethasone adverse events rising 27%, daratumumab adverse events rising 36%, pembrolizumab adverse events rising 26%, and rituximab adverse events rising 9% from 2020 to 2021. Adverse events attributed to the class of drugs composed of bortezomib, carfilzomib, and ixazomib rose 20% from 2020 to 2021. Notably, the most frequently reported adverse events for all nine biopharmaceuticals were death, plasma cell myeloma, malignant neoplasm progression, and drug ineffectiveness. This study further quantified trends in drug costs and found significant rises in the cost of lenalidomide, pomalidomide, and dexamethasone from 2013 to 2020. Future research must quantify the long-term impact of the pandemic on patient outcomes for multiple myeloma and other cancers.