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Int J Clin Pharm. 2012 Aug;34(4):604-10. doi: 10.1007/s11096-012-9652-0. Epub 2012 May 30.

Storage and disposal of unused medications: knowledge, behavior, and attitudes among Serbian people.

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Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology, Medical Faculty, University of Novi Sad, Hajduk Veljkova 3, 21000, Novi Sad, Serbia.



Improper disposal of medications potentially poses a significant environmental risk and storage of expired and unused medications in households provides an increased risk of accidental childhood poisonings.


The objective of this study was to investigate the storage and disposal habits of medications amongst the population in the South Bačka District of Serbia, and to gain insight into the attitudes and knowledge of the population about the proper disposal of medications. Setting Households in South Bačka District.


The study was conducted during the 6-month period from February 2010 to July 2010 and involved a random sample of households. The questionnaire-based study was performed by a trained interviewer.


number of expired and unused medications in families, behavior and knowledge about the disposal of medications.


Of 230 families, 208 (108 urban and 100 rural) agreed to participate and complete the questionnaire(90 % response rate). The drugs were mostly kept in a specific place-home pharmacy (89.8 % [urban] and 89.0 % [rural]). Exposure of children to medications in the home environment was similar in urban and rural families (19.6 % [urban] and 23.1 % [rural]). The frequency of expired medications was not observed to be different between the urban and rural households (10.3 % [urban] and 11.8 % [rural]). The most common method for disposal of household medications is disposal in the garbage (85.6 % [urban] and 74.5 % [rural]) or in the toilet (8.7 % [urban] and 6.4 % [rural]). However, inconsistent with disposal practices, half of the urban and rural participants thought that throwing medications in the garbage, toilet, or sink has a detrimental effect on the environment.


Public services in Serbia, including government and health sectors, need to be more proactive about educating people on how to store and dispose medications, as well as finding a way for implementation of the law on medications wastage destruction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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