If you're preparing to go to work for a compounding pharmacy, you need to be prepared for the proper handling of medications. Sometimes the medications used in these environments can be hazardous, and improper handling could put you at risk of contamination and potential illness. Here are a few of the most common ways that people find themselves exposed to these medications and tips to help you prevent it.
Skin contact is one of the most common types of exposure to hazardous drugs. Whether you're transporting them from one station to another or creating the mixtures, you are at risk of exposure to the medication from bare skin contact. In fact, you're even at risk of exposure from a contaminated work surface. While some medications won't absorb into your skin, others will. It's important that you understand the ways to protect yourself from this kind of exposure. Always wear gloves, and double the gloves when you're dealing with particularly hazardous medications.
When you're working with liquid forms of medications, there's an inherent risk of exposure from splashes, droplet, and similar issues. Your eyes are also vulnerable to contamination from powder-based medications. The particles from the powder can get into the air, and then can drift into your eyes. Since your eyes are particularly vulnerable, it's important that you protect them from this type of exposure. Make a point to wear eye protection any time you're in an area where these medications are being handled, moved, or packaged. The eye protection will prevent any kind of eye exposure while you're in there.
Any time you're dealing with powdered forms of medications or you're in an area where powdered medications are being used, the airborne particles of the powder can put you at risk of inhalation exposure. When the powder gets into your lungs, it will be absorbed into your bloodstream, potentially leading to illness or other problems. If there are powdered medications in the area where you're working, wear a face mask that covers both your nose and your mouth. That prevents the particles from reaching your lungs. If you're dealing with particularly hazardous materials, you should inquire about a self-contained transportation system that will allow you to move the powdered medications in a secure and sealed environment.
Talk with your compounding pharmacy specialists about installing containment systems and instituting safety procedures to protect against these types of exposure during hazardous drug handling. The better prepared you are, the safer the environment will be.