World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Hazardous drugs

Article Id: WHEBN0012325841
Reproduction Date:

Title: Hazardous drugs  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Clinical pharmacology, Pharmacology
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Hazardous drugs

In pharmacology, hazardous drugs are drugs that are known to cause genotoxicity, which is the ability to cause a change or mutation in genetic material; carcinogenicity, the ability to cause cancer in animal models, humans or both; teratogenicity, which is the ability to cause defects on fetal development or fetal malformation; and lastly hazardous drugs are known to have the potential to cause fertility impairment, which is a major concern for most clinicians.[1] These drugs can be classified as antineoplastics, cytotoxic agents, biologic agents, antiviral agents and immunosuppressive agents. This is why safe handling of hazardous drugs is crucial.

Safe handling

Safe handling refers to the process in which health care workers adhere to evidence-based practices (EBP) set forth by national organizations, that have been designed to eliminate or significantly reduce occupational exposure. Some of these practices include but are not limited to, donning of personal protective equipment such as a disposable gown, gloves, masks and the utilization of a closed-system drug transfer device. The key safe handling is to protect the health care worker throughout the three phases of contact with the hazardous drugs. These phases are drug preparation, administration and disposal. Research has shown that while compounding hazardous drugs in a Class II BSC in conjunction with a closed-system drug transfer device, a significant decrease in drug contaminants inside a Class II BSC has resulted.[2] The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) further elaborates on the topic of safe handling by stating that a closed-system drug transfer device is viewed as one of safest measures to prevent hazardous drug exposure from coming in contact with a clinician’s working environment.[3]

It has been determined that current personal protective equipment (PPE) does not provide adequate protection against workers handling hazardous drugs - NIOSH states that “... measurable concentrations of some hazardous drugs have been documented in the urine of health care workers who prepared or administered them − even after safety precautions had been employed.”[1] Further, NIOSH recommends that institutions should "consider using devices such as closed-system transfer devices. Closed systems limit the potential for generating aerosols and exposing workers".[1] Other guidelines outline that "As other products become available, they should meet the definition of a closed system drug transfer device established by NIOSH and should be required to demonstrate their effectiveness in independent studies".[2]


  1. ^ a b c National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). 2004. NIOSH Publication N. 2004-165
  2. ^ a b American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). 2005. Retrieved June 19, 2006, from
  3. ^ Oncology Nursing Society (ONS). 2003. Safe handling of hazardous drugs.

External links

  • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • Oncology Nursing Society (ONS)
  • The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Classification of Hazardous Drugs
  • International Society of Oncology Pharmacy Practitioners (ISOPP)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.