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Research Letter
July 2016

Estimated Cost of Injectable Medication Waste Attributable to Syringe Dead Space

Author Affiliations
  • 1Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill
  • 2RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):1025-1027. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2301

Excess waste is a well-known known driver of inefficiency in the US health care system. Medication waste contributes to this inefficiency and has recently been described among cancer medications,1 but it may also be attributable to the syringes used to deliver injectable medications. Syringe dead space is the volume of residual fluid that remains within the syringe after the plunger is fully depressed during medication injection.2,3 High dead-space syringes (HDSS), compared with low dead-space syringes (LDSS), are associated with increased risk for medication waste.25 If costly injectable medications are administered using HDSS, syringe dead space may contribute to excess medication waste in the US health care system. We estimated differences in the cost of injectable medication waste attributable to HDSS and LDSS.

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