Oral Antineoplastic Handling at Heath Care Institutions in the United States: Survey of Nurses and Pharmacists

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Hospital Pharmacy

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Purpose: To characterize and identify trends in current practices for ordering, handling, dispensing, administering, and disposing of oral antineoplastics.

Methods: An electronic survey was designed and sent to pharmacists and nurses via professional society listservs.

Results: One hundred and twenty-three practitioners responded to the survey. Of those responding, 76% described having an official policy regarding the handling of oral antineoplastics. Prescribing was limited to attending physicians or oncologists the majority of the time (42% and 98%, respectively), with 11% accepting telephone orders for oral antineoplastics. Personal protective equipment was required by many of the respondents; 70% required gloves be worn. Patient contact precautions were utilized by 79% of practitioners, of which 81% followed similar precautions for targeted therapies. Compounding was required to be performed in a biological safety cabinet by 88% of respondents, and 83% required decontamination of supplies and equipment after exposure to oral antineoplastics.

Conclusion: Although practices varied slightly, the majority of respondents follow available guidance when handling oral antineoplastics.


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