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Prescription Medication Stewardship: Using the Telehealth Visit to Ensure Public Safety and Protect the Environment

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic in America.Every 14 minutes, a person dies from a drug overdose in America – leading to over 100 deaths per day.  It has been estimated that 7 out of 10 people who abuse prescription drugs get them from friends and family, often from medicine cabinets.

Although there have been national efforts to create prescription take-back programs by pharmacies, police, hospitals, and clinics, they have not been entirely successful. If these programs capitalized on the personal relationship between the original prescriber and the patient, we would have much greater success in removing dangerous drugs from the home and the environment.

Telehealth visits such as wellness checks or postoperative check-ins provide a fantastic opportunity for the prescriber to assess a patient’s medication stock and then aid them in the safe disposal of unused and expired prescription medications.

It isn’t very often that ATDA comes across a product that is elegant in its simplicity, design, and functionality. However, we recently discovered DisposeRx at-home medication disposal packets which make prescription drug stewardship an easy proposition for prescribers. The packets are comprised of materials that are FDA-approved for oral medications and provide a simple, convenient, and effective solution for the disposal of unused or expired medications (Pills, Tablets, Capsules, Liquids and Powders). DisposeRx’s patented packets contain a blend of solidifying materials that provide a safe solution for the disposal of unused or expired medications. When water and the DisposeRx powder are added to medications in the prescription vial/bottle and shaken, the drugs become chemically and physically sequestered in a viscous gel. The gel is a network of crosslinking polymers which traps the medication’s active ingredient within its composition rendering the drug unavailable and unusable. Further, the gel is naturally resistant to solvents, tampering, and will naturally break down the active ingredient that has been encapsulated.

So next time you prescribe, think about where the unused medicine will end up and implement a strategy to make sure that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands or harm the environment.

[1] U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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