How To Minimize The Risks When Handling Hazardous Drugs

17 March 2018
 Categories: , Blog


Pharmacists provide information and make medications available to your health care system. They play a vital role and have to carry out a number of responsibilities. These responsibilities include monitoring patient health, dispensing medications and improving parents' response to medication therapies.

However, one of the more important jobs is finding medications to treat cancer. Read on to find out how to minimize the risks when handling hazardous drugs.

Understand The Cell Cycle 

Chemotherapy drugs work to target cells when new cells form at different phases. This process is known as the cell cycle. Cancer cells are a better target for these drugs because new cancer cells form very quickly. Unfortunately, chemotherapy drugs do not understand the difference between cancer cells and healthy cells. This results in side effects because of healthy cells being killed at the same time.

With treatment, you have to find balance with sparing healthy cells while killing cancer cells. Health care professionals must understand how these drugs work to find the best drugs to use as a combination. The timing of the cell phases also helps with planning out the dosage amount of chemotherapy drugs. This information also helps with predicting side effects.

Know The Risks Of Handling Hazardous Drug

In 2004, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) released an alert that working with chemotherapy drugs puts your health at risk. Some pharmacists' main duty is to dispense chemotherapy drugs. You have to work with a variety of chemicals to make the medication. It is easy to think that the drugs are safe because they treat cancer. However, there is a possibility that exposure to chemotherapy drugs can cause cancer.

Minimize The Handling Risk

The NIOSH CSTD is a response to help minimize the risk for healthcare workers. A closed system transfer device (CSTD) is a sealed drug delivery system. It allows the transfer of hazardous drugs from pharmacy to the patient without leakage or contamination.

Hazardous drug handling increases your risk of infertility, skin rashes, infant birth defects, miscarriages and the possibility of developing cancer. To counter these risks, NIOSH recommends using a CSTD when handling hazardous drugs.                 

The medical field provides a living for many families. It is possible to work at a job and not know you are at risk. However, if you are exposed to hazardous drugs, then it helps to follow the proper safety precautions to lower your exposure.