201587 Profile of opioid pain medications collected at a household drug take-back program

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Grace Welham, PharmD , School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Unused and expired medications present many public health concerns. Specifically, opioid pain medications that remain unused in the home may be diverted for non-medical uses, such as prescription drug abuse. Take-back programs allow households to dispose of these unwanted and unused medications, and in doing so provide a mechanism to reduce the community availability of these medications for potential abuse. This study reports on a survey of opioid pain medications collected at a medication take-back program. Specific data collected included drug name and strength, quantity dispensed and remaining, and directions for use. Our results indicated that a significant number of take-back program participants returned unused opioids. In some instances, the quantity of doses returned matched or even exceeded the quantity dispensed. The duration between date dispensed and date collected ranged from weeks to years. These findings suggest that a significant number of unused opioid pain medications exist in the community, and that certain individuals fill prescriptions for these drugs and then never use them. Additional data are required to determine whether the oversupply identified here results from inappropriate prescribing, over-prescribing, change in pain status post-prescribing, or poor compliance with prescriber instructions.

Learning Objectives:
Describe and profile the presence of opioid pain medications at a drug take-back program.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my Pharm.D. in 2002 from the University of Michigan. Since then, I initiated a household medication take-back program serving the Dane County/Madison, Wisconsin, area. Now, as a graduate student in the SAS Division of the School of Pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, my research area focuses on the medications returned to this take-back program in an effort to understand what medications remain unconsumed after purchase and the behaviors by patients, prescribers, and pharmacists that contribute to this waste.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.