Patient participation in a clinic-based community pharmacy medication take-back program

Stefanie Lystlund, Eric Stevens, Lourdes G Planas, Todd R Marcy
Journal of the American Pharmacists Association: JAPhA 2014, 54 (3): 280-4

OBJECTIVES: To describe patient interest and involvement in participating in a clinic-based community pharmacy drug take-back program to dispose of unused, unwanted, or expired (UUE) medications and to identify patients' reasons for participating in the program.

METHODS: A convenience sample of patients at the University of Oklahoma Family Medicine Pharmacy was recruited to complete a needs assessment survey regarding interest in drug take-back programs and current practices for handling UUE medications. Participants who purchased a postage-paid drug disposal envelope were asked to complete a program survey identifying sources of UUE medications, experience with drug take-back programs, and reasons for participation. These participants were later contacted for a follow-up telephone survey regarding their experience with the program and medications sent back.

RESULTS: 62 needs assessment surveys were collected. 61% of patients reported interest in a drug take-back program. 57% reported having no UUE medications at home. Commonly reported UUE handling practices included disposal in the garbage (53.2%) or sewer (29.0%) and home storage (17.7%). 15 disposal envelopes were sold to 10 participants whose most common reasons for participation included concern about the safety of household members, accidental or intentional ingestion, and environmental impact. For 4 patients who returned a median of 9.5 prescriptions, the most common class of returned drugs was antibiotics (19.0%).

CONCLUSION: Interest in drug take-back programs exists, but awareness and availability of continuous programs is limited. Programs may be more successful if offered at no cost to patients. Future studies are needed on the types of medications sent back and specific reasons for accumulation.

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