Disposal practices for unused and expired medications: pilot data from three cities in three countries
Kamal K.M., Chiumente M., Nakagawa S., Giannetti V., Marlin T.
GMS Health Innov Technol
Objective: To collect pilot data on medication disposal practices of unused and expired medications from three cities in three countries.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Pittsburgh, United States (US); Turin, Italy; and Kobe, Japan. A convenience sampling was utilized through drug take-back programs in Pittsburgh, US; pharmacy customers in Turin, Italy; and pharmacy students and family members in Kobe, Japan. Descriptive analysis was conducted to assess medications disposal practices including attitudes and beliefs of respondents.
Results: The sample included 342 respondents [99 (Pittsburgh, US); 168 (Turin, Italy); and 75 (Kobe, Japan)]. The mean unused and expired medications per patient for Pittsburgh, US was (1.60±2.30 and 0.51±1.54); Turin, Italy (1.69±1.86 and 0.49±1.22) and Kobe, Japan (6.69Â±8.78 and 0.84±2.26). The major reason for unused medications in Pittsburgh, US (31.3%) was “Medication was as needed”; in Turin, Italy (28.0%) “No longer suffer from the condition”; and in Kobe, Japan (54.7%) “No longer suffer from the condition”. The most common reason for expired medications was “No longer suffer from the condition” (Pittsburgh, US 17.2%; Turin, Italy 15.5%; Kobe, Japan 12.0%). The disposal method in Pittsburgh, US was disposing in the toilet (35.4%); returned to the pharmacy in Turin, Italy (51.2%); and disposed the original container in the trash in Kobe, Japan (82.7%).
Conclusions: There is a need for counseling protocols regarding proper disposal, which can lead to better adherence, reduction of prescription drug abuse, and less environmental hazards due to improper disposal of prescription medications.
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