Safe Handling of Cytotoxic Drugs


Hazardous Drug Exposures

Hazardous Drug Exposures - Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs
Worker exposure to toxic drugs has been recognized by OSHA as a serious problem of raising health concern. Administration, preparation, disposal and manufacturing of toxic medications may disclose thousands of workers mainly working in hospitals and pharmaceutical industry are significantly affected by these chemicals. 

Anesthetic agents, antineoplastic cytotoxic drugs, anti-viral compounds and others have been categorized as hazardous. These toxic medications are causing serious problems including organ toxicity, cancer, genetic damage, fertility problems and birth defects. Hazardous drugs are tackled in definite standards for the common industry.

Standards – NIOSH

The National Institute for Occupation Safety and Health of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has published awareness information on preventing occupations exposure to antineoplastic and other dangerous drugs in hospitals and healthcare surroundings. NIOSH has updated Appendix-A. The list contains drugs evaluated by NIOSH.  People can find the current list of toxic drugs at NIOSH. The details you find on the list include list of antineoplastic and other toxic drugs in hospitals settings.

Hazardous Drug Exposures in Healthcare

Healthcare professionals who prepare and distribute hazardous drugs or workers who handles these drugs every single day are more prone to get exposed to these perilous agents. These drugs  are used for cancer therapy, the drugs that contain hormone agents, antiviral drugs and bio-engineered drugs are some of the toxic drugs that nurses and doctors has to deal on regular basis and these professional are more likely get exposed to toxic agents frequently.

Around 8 million American healthcare providers are likely exposed to toxic drugs, including nursing professionals, pharmacy, physicians, service workers, operating room professionals, workers in research-labs, shipping & receiving personnel and veterinary care workers.

• It is a bit of an irony that people who are helping sick people are affected by the regular contact of these highly toxic compounds.  Many studies have also shown that occupational exposures to toxic drugs cause both chronic and severe health effects like rashes, infertility, congenital malformations and abortions and also some types of cancer, etc. 

• The health risks are evaluated on how much the healthcare professionals get exposed to these perilous drugs.  By using closed system drug transfer device and maintaining hygiene, healthcare professional can be prevented from exposure to hazardous drugs.

Hazardous Drug Exposures to Veterinary Professionals

Veterinary Healthcare workers are also prone to the risks of harmful drugs. Vets treat not only domestic animals but also treat wild animals like horses, etc with antineoplastic and other toxic drugs which may be harmful to humans.  NIOSH suggests the establishment of an awareness program to educate veterinary doctors and healthcare professionals on how to adopt proper safety measures to reduce the risks caused by exposure to hazardous drugs.

Safe Handling of Perilous Drugs - Online Course

Safe handling of perilous drugs has been updated to pursue the new edition of the SHHD (Safe Handling of Hazardous Drugs) text. The classes are given by faculty members permitting students to communicate directly with the faculty through chat forums, discussions and constant assessment of projects.  The student chat forums offer prospects to share experiences and knowledge with their colleagues.  These online courses offer students various learning opportunities which are made to increase awareness of risks of hazardous drugs.