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Article: Volume 48 Number 11 Page 926 - December 2021

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  Dental Update 495: 926-930

Pharmaceuticals in Dentistry:  Pharmaceutical waste: Where’s the harm?

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Abstract: Increasingly, healthcare practitioners need to be concerned not only with the type and dose of the medication prescribed to dental patients, but also to how waste is managed. This article discusses the results of a literature review on the harm both to the environment and population health caused by pharmaceutical waste and looks at potential ways of mitigating this worldwide problem.

Clinical relevance: The dental team needs to consider how they manage not only general clinical waste but their specific responsibility for pharmaceutical waste

Author notes: Aoife Burke, BA, DipDH, Sch Dental Hygienist, Final year dental student, DDUH; Aoife Hutchinson, Final year dental student; Bridget Johnstone, BSc, MSc, PhD, Health Economics; Maitray Varma, BSc Final year dental student; Hanan Husain, Final year dental student; Holly Porter, Final year dental student; Fiona Rickard, Final year dental student; Iriene Sebastian, Final year dental student; Hermela Tecle, Final year dental student; Brett Duane, BDS MAM (Health), MPH, PhD, Associate Professor Dental Public Health; Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. email:

Objective: The reader should understand the planetary and person health implications of the waste resulting from the medication they prescribe and demonstrate ways of mitigating these risks.