Safe Handling of Cytotoxic Drugs at MMA

25. 10. 2016

The first symposium on safe handling of cytotoxic drugs organized by the Pharmaceutical Association of Novi Sad and the Military Medical Academy was held at the Military Medical Academy.
The opening speech was held by Head of Pharmacy Sector MMA Prof. Dr. Mirjana Antunovic and she stressed that the application of cytotoxic drugs, besides being a powerful weapon against serious diseases, could also have toxic effects not only on healthy cells and tissues of patients, but also to all those involved in the process of production, preparation and application of the therapy. She pointed out that taking into account the treatment of diseases that are from epidemiological point of view in expansion, the chain of all employees in this area must be adequately protected in terms of clearly defined equipment and specialized personnel. She said that it is the reason because today's symposium, the first on this subject in our country, is important as well as the opening of Laboratory for centralized preparation of cytotoxic therapy at the Military Medical Academy, which every medical institution requires in order to protect employees and work in appropriate conditions.
MMA’s Head Nurse Verica Milovanovic and President of the Organizing Committee of the Symposium spoke about the role of nurses and health technicians in meeting the standards of medical healthcare in a hospital setting. She emphasized that the increased use of cytostatics due to higher number of patients increases at the same time the occupational hazard of health workers during the application of cytotoxic drugs. As she said, the potential hazards due to exposure to cytotoxic drugs primarily relate to nurses and pharmacists because they are inevitably exposed to these drugs and that is why this issue requires a serious approach in the form of a clear protocols and security methods, training of medical staff and providing controlled conditions for the work thus the risk of exposure would be kept to a minimum.
Topics that were discussed through nine lectures at the Symposium addressed legal regulations for the safe preparation and application of cytotoxic drugs, as well as rules in the collection and disposal of cytotoxic waste. Preventive measures were specially stressed such as higher education of health professionals for greater impact on health behavior with a practical guideline update, but also the necessity of legislation and national guidelines by which the process from preparation to application of cytostatics in health institutions will be governed by the standards for the prevention and minimum possibility for exposure to harmful effects.
Members of the Military Medical Academy, Institute of Oncology, Clinic for Hematology Centre of Serbia, as well as members of the Institute of Oncology and Radiology of Serbia also discussed the issues regarding the improvement of working conditions at hemato-oncological departments, an increase of the safety of staff and patients, proper aseptic preparation of cytotoxic therapy, experiences and safety at work starting from the drug administration to the cytotoxic waste.

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