Patients’ knowledge and awareness of safe handling of oral anticancer agents at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital in Oman

Moataz M. Hassan*, Dhabya Al-Marzooq, Hanan Al-Habsi, Amna Al-Hashar, Murtadha Al-Khabori, Mansour Al-Moundhri, Ibrahim Al-Zakwani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Safe handling of oral anticancer agents is of great concern. There is a lack of clear, national guidelines on how patients can safely handle and dispose of unwanted medications. We aimed to evaluate the safe handling, storage, and disposal of oral anticancer drugs among cancer patients and caregivers at home.

METHOD: This cross-sectional survey of adult cancer patients (or their adult caregivers) used a closed-ended questionnaire from May 2019 to March 2020.

RESULTS: A total of 257 patients (50 ± 15 years; range: 18-93 years) were enrolled; however, only 91% (233/257) reported self-administering oral anticancer medications. Caregivers were more likely to administer oral anticancer agents for patients ≥60 years than those <40 years old (63% vs. 8%; P  = 0.001). Most patients (52%; 133/257) did not wash their hands after administering the drug; 74% (164/222) of the respondents reported that their medications were kept in a bedroom cabinet, while 18% (40/222) stored their medications in a refrigerator, and 5% (12/222) in a kitchen cabinet. A total of 55% (68/124) of patients returned their excess oral chemotherapy medications to the hospitals; however, 36% (45/124) disposed of their unused oral chemotherapy drugs in a household garbage container.

CONCLUSION: While two-thirds of patients stored their oral anticancer medications properly, more than half used inappropriate handling procedures. Disposal practices were inconsistent and did not adhere to the reported international guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-118
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 18 2021


  • Antineoplastic agents
  • caregivers
  • drug storage
  • medical waste disposal
  • self-administration
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Hospitals, University
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Neoplasms/drug therapy
  • Patients
  • Adult
  • Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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