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Study Conducted at Pasadena Children’s Hospital Finds 95% Usage Rate of At-Home Opioid Disposal Kits

Published on Thursday, March 4, 2021 | 11:03 am
 

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from Shriners for Children Medical Center in Pasadena found a 95% usage rate of an at-home drug disposal kit sent home with patients to safely get rid of unused opioid prescriptions.

The study, published last month in the Journal of the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America, examined the use of  drug disposal packets manufactured by North Carolina-based DisposeRx.

The study was conducted by a half-dozen members of the hospital’s Pediatric Surgical Center Team, as part of the institution’s ongoing “Opioid Stewardship Initiative,” meant to curtail abuse of the powerful painkillers, DisposeRx Inc., said in a written statement.

“Conducted by anesthesiologists, physicians and researchers at Shriners for Children Medical Center — Pasadena, the research project sought to improve proper opioid disposal by providing education and an at-home medication disposal product to pediatric surgical patients who were prescribed opioids,” the statement said.

An at-home medication disposal kit. (Photo courtesy of the University of Utah)

Patients or their guardians were provided DisposeRx packages, along with instructions, when opioid medications were prescribed, according to the company.

The packets contain materials that “chemically and physically sequester” the medication in a polymer gel, according to DisposeRx. The packets can then be safely discarded in household trash, rather than brought to a special collection center.

The goal is to provide “a simple, convenient and effective solution for the disposal of unused or expired medications,” the statement said.

Of 355 patient families included in the study, 338 of them, or 95%, reported using the packets to dispose of unused opioids, the study found.

The researchers concluded that “Providing an at-home disposal product is a viable method of ensuring proper disposal of unused opioids,” the study stated. “The combined cost of the disposal packet plus the instructional flyer was $1.90 per patient. Additional efforts are being undertaken to evaluate whether follow-up reminder calls at 2 weeks can be simplified to be included in the post-operative follow-up call to increase parent/guardian adherence.”

DisposeRx President William Simpson said he was glad to be working to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

“Eradicating the misuse of unused medications is the mission of DisposeRx, and we are gratified by the growing body of research that is validating the use of our product and its effects on behavior change,” he said. 

“All too often, proper storage and disposal are not considered and can lead to significant danger for patients and their families,” according to Simpson. “We appreciate the efforts of the Shriners for Children Medical Center clinical team and their commitment to patient safety and opioid stewardship.”

The research paper can be accessed online at jposna.org/ojs/index.php/jposna/article/view/150.

More information on DisposeRx is available on the company’s website at disposerx.com.

Additional information about Shriners for Children Medical Center can be found at https://www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org/pasadena.

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