Magazine article Drug Topics

NIOSH to Update Hazardous Drug List

Magazine article Drug Topics

NIOSH to Update Hazardous Drug List

Article excerpt

NIOSH, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, is updating its list of hazardous pharmaceutical products. The new list will become part of the organization's 2004 alert, Preventing Occupational Exposure to Antineoplastic and Other Hazardous Drugs in Health Care Settings.

"We had originally expected to update the hazardous drugs list annually," said Thomas Connor, Ph.D., research biologist in the NIOSH division of applied research and technology. "The review process turned out to be much more involved."

The original NIOSH alert lists more than 130 pharmaceutical products that pose workplace hazards, and Connor said the group is considering about 100 new candidates for the list. Most are drugs that have been approved for marketing in the United States since the summer of 2004. Some, like Paxil (paroxetine, Glaxo-SmithKline) were on the market in 2004 but have since been found to pose potential occupational hazards.

"This just serves as a warning that we should take a closer look at all drugs as an occupational hazard," Connor said. "We are including all drugs approved through June 2006 in our review."

The products proposed for inclusion on the hazardous drug list were scheduled to be posted on-line in mid-January. Connor said the list would be linked to the hazardous drug alert at http://www.cdc.gov/ niosh/docs/ 2004-165/.

The list will be open for public comment for several months, Connor said, and it will be discussed at a public meeting in late spring or early summer. Connor said he expects about a third of the original 100 candidates to be added to the NIOSH hazardous drug list.

Reaction to the hazardous drug list has been mixed. But even pharmacists who find problems with the hazardous drug list stand behind the alert. "I believe in creating the criteria for evaluating hazardous drugs and letting people make their own choices," said Luci Power, senior pharmacist and manager of parenteral support services at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center. Power was largely responsible for the hazardous drug guidelines published by ASHP. She also helped draft the NIOSH hazardous drug alert.

ASHP does not support a list that itemizes hazardous drugs, Power added. The association has noted that a list of specific products that pose workplace hazards is always out of date. Power herself said that creating a list effectively dictates what products do and do not get used in specific settings. …

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