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Subcutaneous Administration: Evolution, Challenges, and the Role of Hyaluronidase

Seth Eisenberg
CJON 2021, 25(6), 663-671 DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.663-671

Background: The subcutaneous (SC) route has evolved significantly. More than two dozen chemotherapy and supportive therapies have been approved for use in the oncology setting. Several IV therapies have been approved for the SC route and require a significantly higher volume than historical maximum limits. Differences exist in how these drugs are administered as compared to older chemotherapy agents.

Objectives: The purpose of this article is to provide a brief history of the SC route and describe its role in cancer treatment. The use of recombinant hyaluronidase is reviewed within the context of SC monoclonal antibodies. Proper administration techniques and interventions for reducing patient discomfort are discussed.

Methods: Sentinel medical texts, pharmacokinetic studies, manufacturer’s recommendations, and peer-reviewed articles were examined.

Findings: The SC route offers several advantages over the oral and IV routes. A clear understanding of anatomical site selection and injection techniques is beneficial for providing requisite patient education.

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