Research Studies Prove At-home Medication Disposal Works

Research Studies Prove At-home Medication Disposal Works

Multiple research studies show that providing at-home disposal packets, educational materials, and offering counseling can result in the proper disposal of up to 92% of leftover opioid prescriptions. Some studies distributed the disposal packets with a prescription, but the highest rates of proper disposal were achieved by mailing disposal packets to the patient a few days after surgery.

At-home Disposal Kits Increase Proper Opioid Disposal

Mailing medication disposal kits to patients increased safe opioid disposal by an average of 62%.

At the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Lead Researcher Anish K. Agarwal, MD, MPH, saw that after surgery, many patients kept leftover medications in the home increasing the risk of drug addiction and abuse. Agarwal wanted to find whether sending patients a disposal kit could prompt them to properly dispose of the unneeded opioids. His team sent $2 kits to over 200 patients and found that 62% more patients reported they properly disposed of their medications taking almost 500 unused tables off the streets.

Key data points

Read the Research study on JAMA Network Open, "Effect of Mailing an At-home Disposal Kit on Unused Opioid Disposal After Surgery - A Randomized Clinical Trial"

Distributing Packets and Education Boost Medication Disposal

Providing patients with packets, education materials, and awareness boosts medication disposal to 92% disposal.

As part of an Opioid Stewardship Initiative, researchers at the Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena, CA wanted to find if giving medication disposal kits with prescriptions could reduce unused medications in the home. Researchers gave DisposeRx packets, an instructional flyer, and offered counseling to opioid prescription recipients and then followed up by phone. As a result, 92% of the participants reported using the provided DisposeRx to dispose of leftover medications.

Key data points

Read the Research study in the Journal of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, "Preventing Opioid Diversion and Abuse by Using an At-home Opioid Disposal Method: An Improvement Project in a Pediatric Outpatient Surgical Center"

Packets, Follow-ups, and Instructional Materials Increase Disposal Up to 71%

Studies indicate in-home disposal kits increase medication disposal.

Researcher John M. Edwards III, DNAP, CRNA surveyed almost 300 articles about opioid and medical waste disposal and found 8 to be applicable for his review. Of those, Edwards found all eight research studies indicate in-home opioid disposal systems provided by a healthcare facility produce proper medication disposal rates up to 71%.

Medication Disposal Rate with Intervention Methods

Read the Research study Surgical Patient Compliance with Healthcare Facility-Provided In-home Opioid Disposal Products: A Systematic Review.


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