What precautions should I take if someone at home is on a hazardous drug?

Sometimes, the best care involves medications that are helpful to the patient but are very strong — and can be dangerous to hospital staff, children, or pets. These hazardous medications can include chemotherapy (cancer medications), biotherapy (medications that stimulate the body’s immune system), and immunosuppressants (medications that suppress the immune system).

When a hazardous medication is prescribed to be taken at home, only the patient should handle the medication if possible.

Protect your hands. Always wear protective gloves (made of latex or nitrile) when handling body fluids, washing linens, or changing diapers.
Wash your hands after removing the gloves.

Clean up body fluids. Immediately clean up any body fluids if the patient vomits or has an accident (diarrhea, wetting the bed).

Take extra steps to clean laundry soiled with body fluids. Immediately wash soiled clothing, sheets, or other laundry through two wash/rinse cycles, using hot water.

Change diapers often, and dispose of them in one place. For young children taking the medication, change diapers often to minimize
contact time between the skin and body fluids. With each diaper change, wipe and clean the area completely. Choose one specific place to dispose of diapers, rather than putting diapers in various trash cans around the house. For example, use a diaper pail in the bathroom.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.