Mediterranean Journal Of Pharmacy And Pharmaceutical Sciences

Public perception and behavior on the disposal of unused and expired drugs

  • Authors Details :  
  • Mustafa A. Alssageer

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Evidence demonstrates that inappropriate drug disposal creates a significant risk to global environmental safety. Study participants' knowledge, attitude and practice regarding the disposal of unwanted and expired medications were assessed. The study was carried out at Sebha city, in southwestern Libya, from October 2021 to April 2022. A self-administered questionnaire designed explicitly to be completed by a respondent without an interviewer's assistance was used. Out of 650, only 500 completed questionnaires was returned. The majority of the respondents admitted they have at least one medication stored at home (71.6%). Keeping expired drugs were reported by 28.2% of the respondents compared with unused medications in their house (51.2%). Almost half of the respondents (47.4%) declared that their medication were taking from the private pharmacies. “I’ll need it in the future” (48.8%), "Medicines change" (37.2%) and "Symptoms improve and recover" (32.6%) were the top three explanations given by participants. The majority of drugs reported were antibiotics (41.0%). This is followed by antipyretic and analgesic drugs, which were used by 29.8% and 27.8% of respondents, respectively. 52.2% of the respondents agreed that disposing of medicines in the garbage is the most appropriate method. Concordantly, the majority of them indicated they discarded unused or expired medicines whether they were solid (82.6%), liquid (58.4%), or semisolid (79.6%). The majority of participants indicated they were aware of the negative impact of drug waste on the environment (80.6%). More than three quarters of the participants said they had never been given instructions on how to properly dispose of medications and 60.8% thought a medical team would be the best source of knowledge. Despite acknowledging being aware of the harmful effects on the environment, the majority of participants admitted to keeping unneeded pharmaceuticals in their homes and throwing them out in the trash. The government should support the pharmacists' role in educating the public about how to properly dispose of their medications and establish the Return Unwanted Medicines Project in order to raise awareness and create cost-effective medication waste management programs.

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DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo. 7479818

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