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Potential or reproductive hazard medicines treat an illness, but they may harm other people or pets who have contact with them.
Reproductive hazard medicines can cause harm to you only if you are in childbearing years (women and men), pregnant, or breastfeeding.
While you’re taking this type of medicine, you and the people around you need to follow some safety measures. You may get some safety supplies from the pharmacy or clinic where you get your medicine, or you can buy supplies from the pharmacy or a medical supply company.
Read the following information to learn more. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions.
For their safety, tell all your healthcare providers that you’re taking a potential or reproductive hazard medicine.
Keep your medicine in a safe place away from:
Check the label on the medicine container and talk to your pharmacist to learn more about storing your medicine safely.
Some potential and reproductive hazard medicines may affect unborn babies as they are developing. If it’s possible for you to get pregnant or get someone else pregnant, talk to your healthcare provider about birth control.
Talk to your healthcare provider before you breastfeed if you’re taking a potential or reproductive hazard medicine.
Ideally, a caregiver who is pregnant or breastfeeding should not handle any potential or reproductive hazard medicine. If they have to handle it, the caregiver should:
Always wash your hands with soap and water before and after taking a potential or reproductive hazard medicine.
Caregivers should not touch the potential or reproductive hazard medicine with their bare hands. They should wear disposable gloves and always wash their hands with soap and water before putting on the disposable gloves and after taking off the disposable gloves. They should remove disposable gloves before touching other surfaces.
If your medicine is damaged—for example, a broken pill (or powder found in the medicine container), leaking liquid, or the fluid for injection is cloudy—talk to your pharmacist.
Talk to your healthcare provider about how you or your caregivers should help you to take your potential or reproductive hazard medicine safely, whether it is a pill, liquid, injection, or cream.
Don’t put any potential or reproductive hazard medicine in the garbage or a sharps container, and don’t flush them down a toilet. If you have extra medicine, ask your pharmacy if you can return it.
Don’t put any sharps (like glass vials, syringes, and needles) in the same container as unused, partly used, or expired medicine.
Caregivers should wear disposable gloves and always wash their hands with soap and water before putting on the disposable gloves and after taking off the disposable gloves.
Follow the information in the Alberta Health Services Community Based Services (Home Care) Waste Disposal brochure.
Talk to your healthcare provider about how to safely throw out medicine, used supplies, and garbage.
Everyone should wash their hands with soap and water before and after handling body fluids, waste, and items such as bed pans, diapers, or pads. Wash your hand even if you’re wearing disposable gloves.
Caregivers should try not to touch body fluids and waste. Wear disposable gloves when caring for a person who can’t control their bladder or bowels or who has a urinary catheter or an ostomy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about taking a potential or reproductive hazard medicine and handling body fluids and waste safely.
If the medicine or body fluids have contact with a person’s eyes, skin, or clothes (including bedding), take care of the person first, and then clean up the spill. (See Cleaning up spills.)
Any clothes, towels, or bedding that has contact with the potential or reproductive hazard medicine or your body fluids can be washed normally.
To flush eyes that had contact with the medicine or body fluids:
Call Health Link at 811 or get medical help if needed.
To clean skin that had contact with the medicine or body fluids:
If the skin gets irritated or a rash starts, call your clinic, family doctor, or Health Link at 811.
A spill could be:
Tablets or capsules that are not cut or broken but are dropped are not considered a spill. Caregivers should wear disposable gloves to pick them up, and they should be put into a separate container and returned to the pharmacy.
Talk to your healthcare provider about how to safely clean up a spill of a potential or reproductive hazard medicine.
Learn more about safety and potential or reproductive hazard medicines.
To see this information online and learn more, visit https://MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/AfterCareInformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_reproductivehazard_medicines_safety_inst.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: June 24, 2022
Author: Provincial Hazardous Medication Committee, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.