Drug therapy is the most used intervention for the treatment and prevention of diseases. However, if used inappropriately, drugs can cause more harm than good. Improper drug storage and disposal can have direct impact on public safety, the environment, and healthcare services. No previous studies have examined how medications are stored, used or disposed-off in Qatari homes.

To explore how medications are stored in Qatari homes, and to identify how unwanted medications are disposed of.

This was cross-sectional, descriptive, and epidemiological study. A list of randomly selected telephone numbers was generated from Qatar's telephone directory. Individuals answering calls were provided with the study objectives, and asked if they wished to participate. Those who offered verbal consent were interviewed in Arabic or English using a multi-part pre-tested survey instrument. The survey contained questions related to the participants’ socio-demographic characteristics as well as to the stored medications at home.

Data were collected from a total of 49 households. The sample contained an ethnic mix of whom 28% stored medications in their bedroom, and 13% in a fridge. Most respondents disposed of unwanted medicines by throwing in the trash. The majority of respondents sought information related to drugs from doctors. Only 6% identified pharmacists as their primary source of information related to drugs. There seems to be poor or no correlation between household income and number of drugs stored or the method of disposal of medicines.

The results raise concerns about how medications are stored and disposed-off in the community. The fact that no household routinely returned unwanted medications to a pharmacy for proper disposal places the environment at risk. There is need for societal awareness on the safe handling and storage of drugs in homes, and pharmacist should do more to raise awareness about their expected professional role.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error