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Health Hazards in Pharmacy

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by SCCpharm, Mar 28, 2007.

  1. SCCpharm

    SCCpharm 10+ Year Member

    Apr 15, 2006
    I was just wondering do any of you that work in a pharmacy feel you are exposed to any health hazards?

    I worked at a mail order pharmacy as a pharm tech and I found it pretty safe. All I had to do was fill prescriptions. However after a few months, I was moved to the "Opti-fill" section, where there is this big wall of cabinets filled with drugs and the pharm tech's job is to refill these cabinets, make sure no pills get stuck, and such. I did not really like it. It was pretty often that we would run out of latex gloves and at the end of the day, usually my hands would be covered in powder from working with the drugs. I always wondered if this posed a health risk. Also, we were breathing in some of the powders. I remember my throat was kinda sore during the first week. Luckily for the pharmacists, none of them worked in the Opti-fill area. It was all pharm techs.

    I also vaguely remember reading an article that said depending on what kind of ventillation setup you are using when working with hazardous drugs, it could be potentially harmful.

    So, in general, do you think pharmacists, pharm techs, and interns become exposed to health hazards while working and what kind of long term health effects does this imply?
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  3. konkan

    konkan coup de grace 10+ Year Member

    Sep 11, 2005
  4. piyi

    piyi 5+ Year Member

    Feb 13, 2007
    Henderson, NV
    Retail should be pretty safe you'd think. I thought so too until I started working at this one particular Sav-On turned CVS: once a shelf dropped on a girls head at my store; she was out for like 3 months. Then, the counter edge started peeling off, and I accidentally flicked it in another girl's eye. She had to go to the quick care to get the wood chips removed from her eye. Stuff like that didn't happen at the other Sav-On/Oscos I've worked at.
  5. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst On with the Poodles already Pharmacist Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Definitely sounds like a health hazard to me. Who knows what you're inhaling. It's probably a small enough dose that it may not be a huge problem, but let's say you're allergic to sulfa's and there's a sulfa or drug known to react similarly to sufla's in there. What's your minimum exposure limit to an allergen. I don't have any experience with these machines, I'd think the most common allergens would be kept out to prevent cross-contamination (PCNs, sulfas, etc) but seriously, could be in for trouble.
  6. pharmboy30

    pharmboy30 order entry monkey 2+ Year Member

    Aug 13, 2006
    I make Chemo occasionally. I'm not too concerned.
  7. tussionex

    tussionex Pharmacist 2+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2007
    po-town, NY
    when i make chemo, i glove and mask up to give the immunocompromised patient the most sterile prep that i can. i'm not concerned about exposure.

    as for other drugs, i have had atropine and bupivacaine land in my mouth, vials of just about anything get on my hands, and had a puff of some cephalosporin catch the wind inside the hood and blow right into my face [gotta watch how much air you put in the vial:) ]

    i'm none the worse for wear. i wouldn't be concerned about drug dust. industry jobs, yes....not so much with retail or even hospital.

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