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  • Overcoming Opioid Addiction With Medication-Assisted Treatment

    LiquiMedLock | June 19, 2023 Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a devastating affliction that affects more than 16 million people across the globe. OUD is a chronic condition characterized by the compulsive use of opioids despite negative consequences. Recovering from an addiction to opiates is extremely difficult and can be very disheartening for the afflicted individuals as well as their loved ones. However, there are evidence-based treatment options that can make a world of difference. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for example, is a form of addiction treatment that relies on the use of other medications to decrease cravings for and dependence on opiates. MAT is also referred to as opioid substitution treatment. A more specific type of MAT is Opioid agonist therapy (OAT). This treatment that involves the use of medications that bind to and activate opioid receptors in the brain. OAT is primarily used to treat opioid dependence. This article explores the most commonly used medications in MAT, how they work, treatment benefits, and limitations to consider. Opioid Addiction and Treatment In addition to heroin, most people are familiar with the name "Fentanyl"(also spelled "Fentanil"). This is largely due to the drug making more and more news headlines over the past few years due to its proliferation in the streets and numerous bouts of overdoses. However, Fentanyl is not the only pharmaceutical drug in the opioid category. In addition to heroin and fentanyl, opioids also include oxycodone (brand names OxyContin or Percocet), hydromorphone (brand name Dilaudid®), morphine, codeine (found in Tylenol 2, 3, and 4), hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxymorphone, and so on. How Is Opioid Addiction Treated? Most treatments for opioid use disorder include a mix of therapeutic treatments. Along with counselling, group therapy, psychotherapy, etc., medication-assisted treatments (MAT) are a popular form of therapy for a variety of ailments, including substance abuse. OAT is an effective option - and the most commonly used - for treating opioid addictions. Medications Used in OAT Opioid agonists and opioid antagonists are two types of medications that interact with the same receptors in the brain that opioids such as heroin or fentanyl bind to. Opioid Agonists An opioid agonist is a medication that binds to opioid receptors in the brain and activates them, producing effects similar to those of opioids. For example, methadone and buprenorphine are opioid agonists used in opioid agonist therapy to treat opioid dependence by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Opioid agonists can be full agonists, which produce a strong opioid effect, or partial agonists, which produce a weaker effect. Opioid Antagonists An opioid antagonist, on the other hand, is a medication that binds to opioid receptors in the brain and blocks the receptors thereby preventing the effects of opioids. Naltrexone is an example of an opioid antagonist that is used in the treatment of opioid dependence to prevent relapse by blocking the euphoric effects of opioids. Naloxone is another opioid antagonist used in emergency situations to quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. In summary, opioid agonists activate opioid receptors and produce effects similar to those of opioids, while opioid antagonists block the effects of opioids by binding to the same receptors without activating them. There are several medications that may be used to treat OUD: Methadone Buprenorphine Naloxone Naltrexone Methadone is a synthetic opioid and a full opioid agonist, which means it binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids like heroin and morphine. However, unlike these drugs, methadone is long-acting, which means it can be taken once a day to prevent withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Some brand names include Methadose™, Metadol-D®, Dolophine®, Methadone Syrup®, Biodone Forte®, and others. In countries such as Canada and Australia, methadone is administered through a variety of loocations, such as a dedicated methadone clinic, pharmacy, addiction treatment centre, inpatient program, outpatient program, and other similar settings . In contrast, the United States only allows methadone to be administered at government regulated methadone clinics. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it binds to the same receptors in the brain as opioids but produces less of an effect. Buprenorphine can also be taken once a day and is typically administered in a doctor's office or clinic. Has similar effect as methadone, but is longer lasting. It can be taken daily or every second or third day due to its long-acting effects. Taken orally in tablet form, often administered sublingually - dissolved under the tongue to reach bloodstream faster. Sold under the brand name Subutex®. Buprenorphine Long-Acting Injections (LAI) are another format available to clients looking for an alternative route of administration of the substance, especially since fewer doses are typically needed. This type of buprenorphine is injected subcutaneously (meaning, under the skin - not intravenously, meaning not directly into the bloodstream). Doses are often administered weekly or monthly depending on the client. Some brand names include Buvidal®, Brixadi™, and Sublocade®. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids on the brain. Naloxone is used to reverse overdoses as well as in medication assisted treatment. Sold under the brand name Narcan®. If you have an addict in your life, it is strongly advised to keep Naloxone on you when you are with your loved one. Buprenorphine-Naloxone is commonly known as its brand name, Suboxone®. Unlike buprenorphine on its own, the combination of buprenorphine and naloxone often comes in the form of a sublingual tablet or film. There are some who recommend that the buprenorphine-naloxone combination should be prescribed in preference to buprenorphine on its own. Suboxone® is becoming more popular as a medication used to treat OUD. Other brand names include Bunavail® and Zubsolv®. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain. Naltrexone is typically taken once a day as a pill. This medication is also often used to treat alcohol addiction. Some brand names include Revia®, Vivitrol®, and Depade®. Benefits MAT has many benefits for individuals with opioid dependence. First and foremost, this treatment contributes to a safer withdrawal experience and reduced risk of overdose. In addition, MAT reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which can be a significant barrier to recovery. This allows individuals to focus on other aspects of their recovery, such as therapy and support groups. Secondly, MAT - especially OAT - has been shown to reduce the risk of overdose and other negative consequences associated with opioid use. Since medications used in OAT and MAT are taken in a controlled environment with frequent monitoring and measured doses, these medications mitigate the risk of relapse and increase treatment retention. All of this contributes to a reduced risk of fatal overdose. One problem with OAT medications - especially methadone and buprenorphine - is medication diversion. This refers to the illegal distribution of these medications. However, if methadone prescriptions are stored in bottles with built-in tamper evident features, this can help maintain a clean dose of methadone. A clean dose means it hasn't been mixed/laced with another drug. So, in effect, even if a dose of methadone is sold on the street, there is the benefit of knowing it is a clean dose, free of stronger opiates like Fentanyl. This, in turn, reduces the risk of fatal overdose. Limitations Despite its clear benefits, OAT also has limitations that should be considered. One of the main limitations is that OAT is not a cure for opioid dependence. Individuals must continue to take OAT medications to manage their addiction, and they may experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the medication. Additionally, OAT medications can have side effects, and some individuals may not be able to take certain medications due to medical reasons. Potential side effects of OAT All OAT medications can have side effects, although these side effects are typically mild and temporary. Common side effects of methadone and buprenorphine include constipation, nausea, and drowsiness. Naltrexone can also cause side effects, including nausea, headache, and fatigue. In rare cases, naltrexone can cause liver damage, so individuals taking naltrexone should have regular liver function tests. Limits on Take Away Methadone Doses Depending on the country, state, or province you reside in, there are limits to the number of take-home methadone doses that are allowed. You must be considered a stable patient to qualify for the maximum number of carries. In countries like Canada, these individuals are allowed up to a month's worth of methadone carries whereas countries like Australia limit it to 6 carries. However, COVID-19 contributed to changes in the maximum number of allowed take-home doses across many countries, with the number of carries often being up to the provider' discretion. OAT Drugs Can Be Harmful to Others Given the nature of OAT medications, they can be lethal when not taken as prescribed. Drugs like methadone may look appealing to children given its liquid form, especially when they see their mom or dad drinking it. However, child resistant packaging and closures is required for controlled substances like methadone. Those undergoing methadone treatment can add another layer of protection by storing take-home doses in a secure methadone lock box. LiquiMedLock™ offers a secure methadone lock box with mini padlocks for our child resistant, tamper evident methadone bottles. This is a highly recommended way to keep your loved ones safe and to prevent others from attempting to steal your doses. Conclusion The opioid crisis is a far reaching epidemic affecting people across the globe. Addiction to opiates affects people from all walks of life and has devastating consequences for many people. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an evidence-based treatment for opioid use disorder that has helped millions of people recover from their addiction. Opioid agonist therapy (OAT) be an effective treatment for opioid dependence. This is because opioid agonists have the power to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings as well as reducing the risk of overdose and other negative consequences associated with opioid use. However, OAT is not a cure for opioid dependence, and individuals may experience side effects from OAT medications. Despite some of the limitations of OAT, this treatment is not only empirically supported, but many recovered addicts owe their lives to medication assisted treatment for opioid addiction. LiquiMedLock™ is proud to offer best practice methadone bottles that enhance the safety of both addicts undergoing treatment and the people around them. Our child resistant caps have built-in tamper evident bands to support in tracking chain of custody. Contact us for pricing, MOQ, and more.

  • Pop-Top Packaging Could Change the Pharmaceutical Industry

    LiquiMedLock | May 10, 2023 Pop-top packaging is becoming increasingly popular as a convenient and efficient way to package a variety of products across several industries. This type of packaging features a built-in pop-top lid that can be easily opened, yet is child resistant. Pop-top packaging offers a number of benefits for both consumers and manufacturers. In this article, we will explore the advantages of pop-top packaging and how it can benefit the pharmaceutical industry. Is Pop-Top Packaging Safe? The biggest question pharmacies are asking is whether pop-top packaging meets the safety standards set out by the government. The answer? Yes! Safety is a top priority to us. That is why our LiquiMedLock™ pop-top pill bottles have tested and certified child resistant closures in accordance with the ISO 8317 standard for poison prevention. This means our pop-top bottles have been physically tested by young children in a special facility to determine the safety of our product. We always share our certification documentation with prospective clients for their peace of mind. Other Benefits of Pop-Top Packaging Pop-top packaging comes with several other key benefits. Whether you are looking for more affordable packaging with less bulk, or a more sustainable product - which can be difficult to find in the pharmaceutical industry - pop-top packaging has a lot to offer. Convenient Design One of the most obvious benefits of pop-top packaging is the convenience it offers. With a simple squeeze of the bottle, consumers can easily pop the lid to access the contents of the package. Despite being child resistant, pop-tops allow adults to open these bottles with minimal physical strain. This means no more struggling to remove tricky caps. For those suffering from arthritis, pop-top pill bottles can make a world of difference. In addition, the absence of a separate cap means less finger dexterity is required to open pop-top bottles. This also means no more lost bottle caps or clumsy handling of caps and bottles when removing medications. Labelling Requirements Another important factor to consider is space for health and safety labels. Our child resistant pop-top pill bottles come in several different sizes that provide ample room for all required product labels, especially for prescription medications. Our range of bottles sizes makes it easy to accommodate pills, capsules, and tablets of all sizes as well as prescriptions of all sizes. Safety: Child Resistant Tested and Certified As we previously stated, pop-top packaging is completely child resistant tested and certified. Our pop-top bottles are child resistant certified according to the ISO 8317 standard. As an aside, our pop-top tubes are certified child resistant according to the US CPSC and 16 CFR 1700.200 standards for poison prevention. Unlike traditional packaging that may require physical strength or even sharp tools to open, pop-top packaging can be easily opened without the risk of injury. Portability Another benefit of pop-top packaging is its portability. Many pop-top packages are designed to be lightweight and compact, making them easy to transport and store. Even our 60DR pop-top bottles are light enough so as to not weigh down pockets, bags, or purses. Freshness Pop-top packaging is able to maintain product integrity for longer periods of time. The airtight seal created by the pop-top lid helps prevent air and moisture from entering the package. This is important for preventing the degradation of pharmaceutical products. Pop-top packaging can therefore prolong the efficacy of medications by ensuring safe product storage. Price Efficient Since the cap is attached to the main storage vessel, only one packaging component is purchased. No more separate orders of caps or ordering additional caps for backup. Pop-top packaging lacks the bulk of other packaging options making them the preferred packaging of choice for pharmaceutical products. Environmentally Friendly Pop-top packaging is becoming an increasingly popular choice for manufacturers and retailers due to its sustainability benefits. One problem with many packaging products out there is that one packaging unit may be comprised of several different materials. With pop-top packaging, the entire storage vessel plus closure are made of the same plastic. This eliminates the need to deconstruct difficult caps - such as those on prescription pill bottles - to properly recyclable the various components. In addition, most pop-top packaging is made from plastic that can be reused, repurposed, or recycled after use. Furthermore, the compact design of pop-top packaging means that less material is required to produce each package, thereby reducing waste and lowering the environmental impact of the manufacturing process. Why Use Our Pop-Top Packaging? Our child resistant pop-top packaging has several features that make pop-top bottles the ideal choice for pharmaceutical products. Competitively Priced We offer the most competitive prices to help you save big without compromising on safety. Our pop-top packaging is extremely affordable, yet entirely compliant with health and safety regulations. Contact us for exact pricing, MOQ, and more. 100% Recyclable Our pop-top pharmaceutical packaging products are made entirely from polypropylene (PP) plastic. This means all LiquiMedLock™ child resistant pop-top packaging products are 100% recyclable. In addition, our manufacturing processes are less detrimental to the environment than manufacturing other pharma packaging products. Customize in ANY Colour Whether you are a pharmacy that uses clear prescription pill bottles or amber ones, we can accommodate your needs. Our child resistant pop-top pill bottles can be customized to come in any colour or transparency. If you are interested in opaque packaging, we can customize our pop-top bottles any way you like, in any colour you desire. Multiple Sizes for All Your Needs Since pop-top packaging comes in several sizes, it can be the ideal packaging choice for a variety of products. Our child resistant pop-top bottles currently come in 13DR, 19DR, 30DR, and 60DR fill capacities to accommodate prescriptions of all shapes, sizes, and quantities. Please note that we will soon be offering 8DR pop-top bottles to make the transition to pop-top packaging as easy as possible. Conclusion Pop-top packaging offers a number of benefits for both consumers and manufacturers. From its convenience and portability, to its child resistant closure and recyclable material, pop-top packaging has become a popular choice for a wide range of products across many industries. As sustainability becomes an increasingly important consideration for consumers and manufacturers alike, we can expect to see more pharmacies adopting pop-top packaging as a more eco-friendly option for their products. Looking for more information? Contact us for pricing, samples, MOQ, customization options, and more!

  • Batch Filling Made Easy: Semi-Automated Capper for CR/TE Methadone Bottles

    LiquiMedLock | March 30, 2023 Batch filling methadone prescriptions can be time-consuming, tedious, and physically exhausting. LiquiMedLock’s™ semi-automated capping workstation can help reduce physical strain, cap bottles faster, and save both time and money by eliminating the need for tamper evident seals. It is also a great tool to add to any harm reduction program. This article will provide in-depth details on the components of the capper, how to assemble it, how to use it, and why it is ultimately the ideal method for batch filling methadone prescriptions. Physical Components Not only is the capping workstation easy to use, but it is also easy to assemble. The capper is comprised of only a few parts: One tool stand One swing arm with a sliding hook One bench clamp (optional) One tool balancer One drill One drill head One power supply box with electrical cords In order to function, the drill head comes with a grip chuck tool with a urethane liner. This rubbery component allows the drill head to grip the bottle caps when in use. Upon initial purchase of the capping workstation, the drill will come with a liner. Depending on the frequency of use, one liner should be able to handle up to 200,000 bottle closures. Once the liner requires placement, they can be purchased individually for $17 USD or approximately $22.85 CAD. If you need a new liner, let us know and we will order it for you. The base of the tool stand can either be directly affixed to the top of the desired surface, or a bench clamp can be used to attach the tool stand to the edge of the desired surface. If using a table, it is important that it is properly weighed down to prevent the weight of the machine from flipping the table over. How to Assemble The main capping workstation requires only an Allen key to assemble. A screwdriver or drill may be required to affix the capper to the desired surface (table, workbench, counter, etc.). Tool Stand The aluminum tool stand functions to protect your investment and decrease clutter in your work space. The tool stand will support a maximum of 10lbs (4.5kg). The height of the tool stand can be adjusted up to 44" (110cm). The sliding tool hanger on the swing arm allows for a horizontal reach of 24" (60cm). The swing arm can pivot 180° to accommodate your work space. You can avoid drilling the tool stand directly to the surface by using the optional bench clamp and bolts provided. Tool Balancer The tool balancer is recommended to provide appropriate overhead support for the drill. The tension on the tool balancer can be adjusted to keep the drill at the desired height with the desired range of motion. Electric Drill & Torque Controller The torque of the drill can be adjusted to suit your personal preferences. It is recommended to start with a torque of 4.5. The drill has a speed range of up to 550 RPM. The drill therefore requires little physical strength to operate. The light, ergonomic design of the drill makes it very easy to operate. How Does It Work? Not only is the capper easy to assemble, but it is very simple to use. Upon setting up your workstation to suit your needs, bring your filled bottles to your space. Place a bottle on the surface you are working on. Place a cap evenly on the bottle. Grip the bottle in your non-dominant hand to keep it in place as you push the drill downwards on the cap with your dominant hand. You will know the cap is successfully secured when you hear an audible click. Watch our demo video to see the capper in action. Intended Use The semi-automated capping workstation is intended to be used with LiquiMedLock™ square methadone bottles with child resistant, tamper evident caps. We currently offer 22mm narrow neck bottles in 30ml, 60ml, and 100ml fill capacities as well as a 32mm wide neck methadone bottle with a 100ml fill capacity. The drill head of this capping machine is compatible with ALL LiquiMedLock™ methadone bottle sizes shown below. Benefits There are several key benefits to using LiquiMedLock's™ semi-automated capping workstation. When the capper is used with LiquiMedLock™ methadone bottles and caps, there is no more need for tamper evident pressure or heat seals. Once the cap is secured to the bottle, it is not removed until it is dispensed to the intended individual. This means you no longer need to remove each bottle cap to check that each tamper evident seal has been properly sealed to each bottle followed by re-capping each individual bottle - a tedious process. The built-in tamper evident band on LiquiMedLock™ caps breaks upon first open when capped correctly. Again, you will know the cap has been properly secured to the bottle when you hear an audible click. If you are unsure, shake the bottle. If leakage is occurring, that means the cap is not on properly and must be tightened. Here's a summary of benefits: One-time purchase. Space efficient. Easy to assemble and operate. Requires little physical strength to operate. This means less physical strain and no more carpal tunnel. Using the capper with LiquiMedLock™ methadone bottles eliminates the need for tamper evident seals. Speeds up the capping process - the drill is fast and efficient with less time wasted on checking seals. Improves batch filling efficiencies by 50% or more. Order Your Capper Today! Contact us for pricing and quotes. To further enhance operational efficiencies, we also offer bottle shredders. Since used methadone bottles cannot be recycled the same way empty pill bottles can, used bottles often build up until proper disposal is available. The bottle shredder decreases the space needed to store these bottles until proper disposal. Contact us for more information!

  • How Can Packaging Contribute to Harm Reduction?

    LiquiMedLock | November 22, 2022 The term "harm reduction" is frequently used within the addiction treatment space. But, what does it actually mean and how can packaging add to a harm reduction program? This article will explore this topic. What is Harm Reduction? In sum, harm reduction is a set of strategies and practices aimed at reducing the negative consequences of drug use. This includes anything that can harm one's physical or mental health as well as social harms. Reducing potential harms to other people in the addict's life also falls under harm reduction. From a treatment perspective, harm reduction is an evidence-based approach that is centered around the individual receiving the treatment. Visit for a more in-depth explanation. One important thing to note is that harm reduction practices do not necessarily require individuals to completely abstain from using substances. Because of this, there are also harm reduction efforts in place that can protect other people in the addict's life. Harm Reduction in the Context of MAT MAT stands for "medication assisted treatment". This type of treatment is primarily used to treat those with an opioid addiction (e.g., heroin, fentanyl, morphine, oxycodone, etc.). The three most commonly used drugs in MAT programs are methadone, buprenorphine, and suboxone. In the United States, clinics and treatment programs must be registered and approved by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in order to dispense methadone. While a supply of a maximum of 30 take-home doses has been approved at the federal level, each state has its own set of regulations in place regarding take-home methadone that vary substantially from state-to-state. In Canada, methadone can be prescribed as a treatment within inpatient and outpatient programs, at dedicated methadone clinics, and at pharmacies. One of the main differences between methadone programs in Canada versus the United States is that Canadians are allowed to pick up their methadone doses from a pharmacy. However, compared to the United States, Canada is a bit more conservative with the amount of take-home doses patients are allowed to have. In Canada, two weeks (or fourteen days) worth of take-home doses. Challenges With Take-Home Doses While allowing take-home doses has many important benefits for those undergoing treatment, it also comes with several key challenges. Some of these include: Ensuring the safety of other people in the household, especially children and teens. Difficulty establishing chain of custody. Preventing methadone diversion (i.e., when methadone doses are sold to others). Dosage compliance. Is there a solution to all of these problems? It might surprise you to know that packaging could be the answer. Let's discuss how... Why is Packaging Important for Harm Reduction? Many take-home methadone programs currently use packaging that does not possess the safety features required to address the aforementioned challenges. While packaging cannot erase these problems, it can certainly help reduce the likelihood of their occurrence. Let's start with the easiest challenge to address: potential harm to others. Packaging Can Reduce Potential Harms to Others For those who have been approved for take-home methadone, there are additional risks for the people living in the same household. This can include children, other addicts, and even pets. Since methadone is a liquid, the substance can easily be ingested by a child or pet if not stored safely. Consider this scenario: a child sees their parent drinking a dose of methadone every morning and thinks it's special juice. The child is curious about this juice and wonders why they can't try it. The child's parent sets a closed bottle down on the counter and turns away to open the refrigerator for water to drink after taking the dose they set out; something that takes only seconds. While the parent's back is turned, the child climbs a stool and takes the bottle off the counter. While the bottle should be stored far out of reach from children, accidents and inattentiveness can unfortunately happen. Child Resistant Caps The above scenario is a real story that has happened to real people. Without safe storage, the outcomes can be fatal. For these reasons, take-home methadone bottles should absolutely have child resistant tested and certified caps. Furthermore, the cap must prevent bottles from leaking. Adding a child resistant cap keeps children safe and therefore contributes to a reduction in potential harms that have arisen as a result of an individual's drug use. Lock Boxes Individuals taking methadone doses to their homes should also consider adding another layer of protection. This is great for those undergoing MAT who have children or teenagers as well as those who may be living with another addict. One option is to get a methadone lock box that can safely store several bottles. Adding a padlock will ensure that no one can gain access to the contents of the box without a key. Click the button below for more info. Packaging Can Help Establish Chain of Custody Another, more complex, issue associated with take-home methadone doses is establishing a clear chain of custody. What does this mean? Since methadone is an opioid, it is imperative to keep track of who is handling a dose and when a dose is passed from one person to another. For individuals taking supervised doses, chain of custody is not as big of a concern. This is because such individuals must physically go to the clinic and ingest the dose in front of someone. After the dose has been ingested, the bottle is handed right back to the treatment provider. However, for those approved for take-home doses, chain of custody is critical. While it cannot be definitively proven, there is one packaging feature that can contribute to tracking chain of custody: a tamper evident band. The Tamper Evident Band A tamper evident band that breaks upon first open, is a small but powerful feature for methadone bottles. If the patient is living with another addict, this individual will be able to tell if another member of their household has accessed their methadone. However, it is possible that someone could remove the methadone and replace it with something else. The replacement substance may or may not be harmless. Either way, the tamper evident band would be broken and the patient will know the dose may not be clean and should therefore be avoided. This effectively reduces the risk of personal physical harm. There is also the challenge of methadone diversion. How can a treatment provider ensure that a patient is not selling - i.e., diverting - their dose to someone else? Unfortunately, methadone diversion is not entirely avoidable. However, for addicts buying methadone off someone with take-home doses, the presence of a tamper evident band can serve as a warning for them as well. If the tamper evident band remains unbroken, the buyer can rest assured that the dose is clean, meaning other substances - like fentanyl - have not been added to it. While it is still possible to overdose on methadone, a clean, measured clinical dose is less likely to be fatal to habitual opioid users who are the most likely buyers. Since most programs require all bottles to be returned to the clinic, these situations do not happen with great frequency. Random Bottle Recalls As stated, since most methadone programs require individuals to return all methadone bottles, this prevents individuals from selling the entire physical bottle to another person. While this can be helpful, it is still impossible to tell whether the methadone was ingested by the intended user, another person, or poured into another container to be sold. One tactic clinics have implemented to help address this issue is random - or surprise - bottle recalls. This means that, at any given time, a patient may be required to bring all their take-home doses back to the dispensing clinic. In this case, the tamper evident band is incredibly useful. A bottle cannot be opened without first breaking the tamper evident band. It can therefore be determined if the patient has been taking more (or less) than their prescribed dose (i.e., if two bottles are being consumed per day instead of one). In this way, the tamper evident band also serves to promote dosage compliance. In addition, if a patient decides to remove the liquid methadone from a bottle and replace it with something else, the tamper evident band will be broken despite the bottle being full. If a patient's doses are randomly recalled, the dispensing party will ask why the cap was opened but the dose was not taken. In this case, it is difficult to provide a valid explanation as to why this has happened. Even if a reasonable explanation has been given, a full bottle with a broken tamper evident band is an indication that the contents of the bottle should be investigated. The Best Practice Methadone Bottles for Harm Reduction To help address some of the harms associated with methadone treatment, LiquiMedLock™ has carefully designed the best practice methadone bottle for enhanced safety. The key feature of the bottle that contributes to harm reduction is the specialized cap. Instead of having a child resistant cap with a separate tamper evident feature (e.g., heat or pressure seal), the caps for these bottles have both elements combined in a single cap. The child resistant portion of the cap includes an inner and an outer layer. This feature has a "push down and turn to open" format typical of most pharmaceutical packaging. Attached to the inner layer of the child resistant cap is a tamper evident band. Once the cap is on, it cannot be removed without breaking the tamper evident band. Including both child resistant and tamper evident features in a single cap makes the fill process more efficient. First, the single cap eliminates the need for a seal or a second piece. This means the cap does not have to be removed to check that the bottle is sealed after the cap has already been secured. Second, the cap is easy to secure to the bottle. When batch filling, this is an important feature that makes the process quicker, easier, and less physically strenuous. Third, the cap is leakproof which, again, eliminates the need for a seal and of course prevents leakage. Click the button below to view an instructional video with more information on LiquiMedLock™ methadone bottles. Practical Problems With Other Methadone Bottles Unlike LiquiMedLock's™ methadone bottles, other products in the market require caps with seals. This could be a pressure seal or a heat seal. Filling bottles and sealing them can be a time-consuming and inefficient process. For instance, after filling a bottle with methadone, someone must remove the cap to check that the seal is in place then put the cap back on before handing it off to the patient. In other words, this is an inconvenient process. Conclusion & Future Packaging Methadone packaging plays an important, if not vital, role in harm reduction. Not only can a bottle protect the patient, but it can also protect those around them. Bottles that have child resistant, tamper evident caps can effectively: Keep children and pets safe. Reduce potential harms to other addicts. Help track chain of custody. Reduce potential harms to the patient. Aid in preventing methadone diversion. In the future, smart packaging could truly help prevent some of the most problematic issues with methadone treatment. Adding smart technology to bottle caps could completely over hall the current system. With this technology, treatment programs could track the exact time and day the cap is removed, how often the cap is removed, changes in the weight of the bottle, and other important information. This would be incredible for ensuring dosage compliance thereby adding immense value to harm reduction and MAT.

  • Improve Urinalysis With Enhanced Urine Collection Cups

    LiquiMedLock | November 15, 2022 Decrease Urine Sample Contamination with LiquiCapture™ Urine collection for toxicology testing is a standard method used to identify the presence of certain chemicals within an individual's body. This is a typical practice in addiction treatment centres, sober living facilities, methadone clinics, some work places, and other similar settings. While extremely useful and widely used, there are some disadvantages associated with urine collection and testing. For example, urine that is sent to a lab for testing can have a long turnaround time. Waiting 24 - 48 hours or longer for results may be problematic in cases where results are needed instantly to assess treatment compliance. Another issue with urine testing is that results may be inaccurate if standard collection protocols are not followed correctly. This is especially true when the lid needs to be removed to use a drug test dip card or to extract multiple smaller samples for lab testing. Sample accuracy may also be influenced by adding specific diluting agents to the sample in order to purposefully skew the results. To combat some of the challenges associated with urine testing, LiquimedLock™ has designed unique urine collection cups with built-in features that decrease the risk of sample contamination and streamline the process of drug testing within the addiction treatment space. Watch the video below to learn how to properly use LiquiCapture™ products. How Does LiquiCapture™ Work? LiquiCapture™ Urine Collection Cups have a 100ml fill capacity and come in three formats: (1) with an integrated dip slot, (2) with an integrated transfer device, and (3) a combo cup with both an integrated dip slot and transfer device. These features allow for sample testing without ever having to remove the lid. Not having to remove the lid means a decreased risk of sample contamination as well as simply being more hygienic for the individual collecting the sample. So, how does this work? The Integrated Dip Slot The dip slot is a built-in chamber that allows for the mess free insertion of drug test cards. This feature allows you to use drug testing cards without ever having to remove the lid of the cup. This feature is optimal for onsite drug testing in addiction treatment settings or for mandatory workplace testing. A disadvantage of lab-based urine testing is the turnaround time for receiving results. LiquiCapture™ Cups with the dip slot can help circumvent the lengthy turnaround time associated with in-lab testing. Using the dip slot with a test card first, can function as a pre-screen for the presence of various drugs. This feature can help to identify whether further in-lab testing is required for confirmation of results, thereby limiting the need for unnecessary offsite testing. By eliminating unnecessary instances of offsite drug testing, LiquiCapture™ can make the process of drug screening more efficient for both the nurses collecting the samples and the toxicology labs providing offsite testing services. The Integrated Transfer Device The integrated transfer device is meant for the extraction of smaller specimen samples with a vacuum sealed collection tube to send for offsite lab testing. If a specimen sample requires in-lab testing, vacuum sealed collection tubes can be inserted into the transfer device opening to extract smaller specimen samples for further testing. LiquiMedLock™ offers compatible vacuum sealed collection tubes in 5ml and 10ml fill capacities. Like the dip slot, the integrated transfer device eliminates the need to remove the cap following specimen collection. Not having to remove the cap contributes to a decreased risk of sample contamination since there is no opportunity for airborne elements, bacteria, and other foreign particles to enter the cup after sample collection. The Combo Cup The combination cup is perfect for addiction treatment facilities because - as mentioned - the dip slot allows for initial drug screening using a drug test card, while the transfer device can be utilized if the urine sample requires further in-lab testing. Multiple samples can be extracted from the primary collection cup allowing labs to run multiple different tests without wasting any of the urine sample. Again, the lid is not removed from the cup to use test cards or to take smaller samples with collection tubes. Ensure the Legitimacy of Voided Samples With Temperature Strips Temperature strips may be added to any LiquiCapture™ Urine Collection Cup. The addition of a temperature strip can help identify when a sample has been tampered with. For nurses and lab technicians collecting the sample, the strips can help identify when a urine sample has been diluted. Samples that do not fall within the average temperature range for human urine upon initial collection indicates probable manipulation of the sample. Temperature strips can effectively dissuade individuals from adulterating their urine samples. Harm Reduction You may not believe that urine collection cups can play a role in harm reduction. However, consider this: what if an individual in a methadone program is using other drugs that could fatally interact with methadone? What if this individual alters their urine sample to produce false negatives? By dissuading individuals from diluting or otherwise adulterating their urine samples, treatment programs can keep patients safe by producing ensuring legitimate samples and thus more accurate test results. Consider another situation. What if the sample is further contaminated when the lid is removed to use drug test cards? By limiting opportunities for sample contamination, treatment programs can enhance the accuracy of test results to further ensure the safety of their patients. LiquiCapture™ can therefore bolster the effectiveness of any harm reduction program. Conclusion Urine collection comes with several challenges. LiquiCapture™ Urine Collection Cups can help address some of the key issues associated with urine collection, like sample contamination. It should be emphasized that, if stringent collection protocol is ignored, sample contamination is much more likely to occur. If protocols are correctly followed, LiquiCapture™ Cups can further decrease the likelihood of sample contamination as well as being more hygienic than specimen collection with standard urine cups. Furthermore, LiquiCapture™ streamlines the process of urine testing for drugs by making collection and sample transport cleaner and more efficient. Nurses, lab technicians, and other relevant parties are faced with enough day-to-day challenges. When LiquiCapture™ Urine Collection Cups with the dip slot is used with drug test cards, we can help reduce the burden placed on these individuals by identifying and eliminating unnecessary secondary lab testing. This is more procedurally efficient and cost efficient. Interested in trying LiquiCapture™ products? Contact us for free samples, pricing, and additional information.

  • The Role of Packaging In the Healthcare E-Commerce Boom

    LiquiMedLock | February 24, 2022 The role of packaging in healthcare e-commerce has increased substantially over the past few years. How can packaging positively contribute to the healthcare e-commerce boom? The past few years have seen a significant increase in healthcare e-commerce. The growing popularity of purchasing healthcare products and services online has been perpetuated by lifestyle changes associated with COVID-19. With the breadth of online options available to consumers, what is the The Role Of Packaging In Healthcare E-Commerce Boom? Furthermore, what can the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors do to keep up with increased packaging demands? Quality Control Through Smart Packaging In our last article, we discussed the role of smart packaging design in the pharmaceutical industry. As discussed, smart packaging comes in two formats: (1) active packaging and (2) intelligent packaging. Both types of smart packaging are efficient ways to ensure quality control of pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain. Active packaging physically protects products from exposure to oxygen and moisture. This is achieved through the inclusion of secondary materials in a packaging system (e.g., sachets and pads that absorb gas and moisture). It can also include the addition of oxygen-absorbing materials directly into a product’s primary packaging. Both are effective ways to ensure pharmaceutical products and medications are transported under optimal conditions. Intelligent packaging is used to monitor, rather than alter, the conditions of the contents of a package and its surrounding environment. Intelligent packaging can determine whether a product has been exposed to oxygen or to a temperature outside its optimal range. It can also determine when a medication cap is first removed, the number of pills in a bottle, when a pill is removed, and when a pill is returned to its bottle. Intelligent packaging can therefore detect when a product has been tampered with. This has significant implications for pharmaceutical e-commerce, especially with regards to the transport of controlled substances like methadone. The Proliferation of Child Resistant Packaging Many households have opted for home delivery of medications and pharmaceuticals in response to the pandemic. With the possibility of having additional pharmaceutical products around the house, it is more important than ever for companies to offer a range of child resistant packaging for pharmaceuticals. Currently, there are many types of child resistant packaging solutions available for a wide range of products, including child resistant: Caps, closures, and blister packaging Sprays (e.g., nasal, corticosteroid, asthma, etc.) Resealable CR cartons with added push points along the sides Pouches with traditional pinch and slide seals, variations on pinch and slide seals (e.g., pouches that open from the side instead of top), pinch sliders, zippers, etc. With healthcare e-commerce still growing, it is crucial to continue developing new pharmaceutical packaging solutions with innovative child resistant features to keep children safe from harm. Communication Through Packaging The growing popularity of telehealth and telemedicine has brought with it a demand for effective remote communication between healthcare providers and patients. For example, more patients are taking diagnostic tests at home. Not only do testing products require additional packaging features to prevent contamination during collection and transport, but they also require the addition of complex instructions. To ensure appropriate product use, these instructions must be written clearly using language that can be easily interpreted and followed by a range of consumers. This also includes using large text for those with vision loss. Providing additional instructions on packaging illustrates a one-way communicative function of pharmaceutical packaging. While beneficial, can technology allow for advanced two-way communication to enhance compliance packaging and keep physicians and patients connected? Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has indeed made this possible. Near Field Communication Technology Simply put, NFC is a type of wireless communication technology often used in smartphones. NFC technology can now be embedded into labels, packaging, products, and other materials to allow for new forms of consumer engagement. Adding NFC technology to compliance packaging can greatly improve medication adherence. Not only can consumers receive product information by simply tapping an embedded NFC label, but consumers can also tap to indicate when they take a prescribed dose. This information is helpful in preventing accidental double dosing. In addition, the data can be sent to a healthcare provider to assess medication compliance. Physicians can even set dose reminders that can be communicated through notifications sent to an app, mobile device, or landline. Printed electronics can also be added directly to blister packaging to instantly detect when a blister has been accessed. In addition to communication, embedded NFC technology can also be used to improve product security by enabling real-time tracking of packages during transport. This technology can relay data regarding current conditions of the packaging like location, temperature, humidity, and damage to the package (e.g., if the package is ripped open, dropped, etc.). NFC can create a more efficient system for monitoring the security of pharmaceutical products during the journey from supplier to consumer. Reducing E-Commerce Packaging Waste Reducing E-Commerce Packaging Waste Given the nature of pharmaceutical products, such online purchases require additional layers of packaging for safety, security, and quality control. These extra packaging components produce additional waste that can negatively impact the environment. This is especially problematic given the increasing consumer demand for sustainable packaging. To minimize the impact of e-commerce waste, all additional packaging should strive to do the following: Be recyclable, biodegradable, or reusable. Reduce or eliminate the use of plastics. Avoid EPS foam insulators given its high carbon footprint. Replace foam inserts with custom carboard inserts. Leverage smart packaging to ensure optimal product conditions. Stop overpacking and using unnecessary fillers. Use flexible packaging when possible as it takes up less space than rigid packaging and may reduce overpacking. Furthermore, packaging must be easily recyclable to promote sustainable behaviours in consumers. This means using large symbols on the packaging to clearly indicate when a material is recyclable or compostable. Using cardboard and other paper-based products can aid in promoting sustainable packaging disposal as consumers can easily identify these materials as being recyclable. With varying types of plastics, it becomes difficult for consumers to determine whether the packaging can in fact be recycled. Final Remarks Packaging has been crucial to the healthcare e-commerce boom. Smart packaging and NFC have allowed packaging to transcend its basic functions and enhance pharmaceutical e-commerce. However, there are many other factors to be considered, including the importance of: Anti-counterfeit packaging solutions. Consumer centric packaging. Accessible packaging. Enhancing the consumer experience. Reducing exposure to COVID-19 through packaging. Considering the size and durability of packaging to reduce product damage during transport. Packaging considerations for over-the-counter versus online purchases Pharmaceutical packaging solutions must continue to evolve in order to keep up with the growing demands of healthcare e-commerce.

  • Are There Any Packaging Solutions for Oxygen-Sensitive Products?

    LiquiMedLock | February 24, 2022 Oxygen exposure can have significant negative effects on pharmaceutical products. Providing pharmaceutical packaging solutions for oxygen-sensitive products is therefore integral to the preservation of pharmaceuticals. If a pharmaceutical product is exposed to oxygen levels outside of its optimal range, the active chemical ingredients in the drug, for example, could degrade. Degradation can lead to decreased drug efficacy or may even cause the active ingredients to become toxic if ingested. Furthermore, high oxygen levels can negatively affect the fillers used in a drug. This may result in changes in appearance (e.g., colour), odor, or even the flavour of a given product. Cannabis products, especially dry flower, are also susceptible to the negative effects of oxygen exposure. Specifically, when oxygen interacts with cannabis, degradation occurs. In addition, oxygen can convert THC cannabinoids into CBN cannabinoids. This, in effect, decreases the quality, efficacy, and potency of the product. Before looking into oxygen-sensitive packaging solutions, it is important to understand the product in question and the additional steps required for product preservation. Packaging Environment While it is important to ensure products are contained in protective packaging, it is also crucial that the environment of both the production and packaging facilities are set to the product’s optimal oxygen levels. It is therefore up to the owners of the pharmaceutical or cannabis product to educate themselves on the product’s degradation pathway and when/where in the packaging pathway product degradation becomes noticeable (e.g., within hours of exposure to high oxygen levels versus months, etc.). This will allow packaging facilities to have accurate knowledge of product expiration dates, to identify optimal packaging conditions, and to select the most suitable packaging for the product. Including industrial grade gas oxygen sensors can help ensure the packaging environment is within the ideal range for a given product. Medication compliance packaging can be locally flushed with nitrogen or a noble gas (e.g., helium, argon, xenon, etc.). Testing oxygen levels before and during the packaging process is key to preventing products from degradation. Let’s move on to oxygen-sensitive packaging solutions. Air Tight Closures: Hermetic Seals Containers for oxygen-sensitive pharmaceutical products must include an air tight closure system. As the name indicates, air tight closures prevent gas from entering the packaging system. One way oxygen can enter a package is by diffusing past the seal. For products that require the container to be opened upon every use, air tight closures are imperative. Hermetic packaging is the term given to a container seal that prevents the diffusion of oxygen and other gasses through the packaging material(s). In other words, hermetic seals are airtight and watertight seals. In addition to using hermetically sealed primary packaging, adding hermetically sealed secondary packaging that encases the product’s primary packaging is another way to prevent oxygen from interacting with the product. Hermetic packaging is an effective means of preventing oxygen degradation during shipping and transport of packaged goods. While oxygen does not readily permeate glass containers, packaging made primarily with glass must include a strong seal between the container and the closure. Certain plastics should be avoided in the packaging materials used for certain pharmaceuticals. This is because certain plastics are more permeable to oxygen (e.g., low density polyethylene). Active Packaging: Oxygen Scavengers Active packaging is an excellent option for oxygen-sensitive products. Products can be protected from oxygen exposure by adding an oxygen-absorbing sachet or pad to a packaging system. These are known as oxygen scavengers. This type of active packaging is an effective means of absorbing oxygen within the headspace of a given package. Adding an active oxygen-absorbing agent directly into the primary packaging material is also a possible solution for preventing oxygen degradation. Tamper-Evident Droppers Oxygen sensitivity is most common in liquid-based products. This includes both oral doses and injectable doses of a given drug. Ensuring dosage droppers release only the intended measurement is one way to assess the performance of the product’s packaging. Not only can glass dropper bottles with tamper-evident closures provide a solid barrier against oxygen, but they are also child resistant. Modified Atmosphere Packaging: Gas Flushing Gas flushing refers to the process in which oxygen is removed from packaging. This is done by injecting another gas inside the packaging (e.g., nitrogen), sucking the oxygen out, or repeatedly re-injecting another gas to remove or flush the oxygen out of the packaging. In other words, gas flushing focuses on removing the oxygen from the product’s immediate surrounding environment to maintain optimal oxygen levels. Gas flushing therefore falls under the category of modified atmosphere packaging. While nitrogen is a commonly used gas in this process, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are also used. Some packaging uses “tri-gas” flushing, which means a mixture of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen is used. Each gas has a different function. Nitrogen surrounds the product to create a barrier, carbon monoxide can stabilize products and prevent discolouration, and carbon dioxide functions as an antimicrobial agent. Conclusion Exposure to oxygen is one of the leading causes of pharmaceutical and cannabis degradation. Luckily, technological and packaging innovations have provided several solutions. Whether you use one of the cannabis or pharmaceutical packaging solutions described above, or a method not mentioned in this article (e.g., single-use packaging), it is extremely important to engage in measures that can prevent oxygen degradation and extend product shelf life.

  • Smart Packaging Technology: Transforming the Pharmaceutical Industry for Everyone

    LiquiMedLock | January 28, 2022 Revised: May 16, 2022 Medication compliance packaging plays a major role in preserving both the integrity of pharmaceutical products and the health of patients. Given the proliferation of technological advances within the past several years, new types of packaging have emerged as real game changers for the pharmaceutical industry, packaging manufacturers, and packaging suppliers. Let's take a look. The Key Functions of Packaging The two key roles of packaging for any product are: (1) to protect the contents of the package and (2) to communicate information to the consumer. Smart packaging extends these functions by ensuring quality control of products throughout the supply chain. More specifically, smart packaging contains added features - like physical sensors - that serve to monitor the condition of the enclosed product. Smart packaging can also enhance patients’ wellbeing by improving medication adherence. This includes seamlessly connecting doctors, pharmacists, and other healthcare providers with their patients to ensure medications are being taken as directed. It also helps to provide complete visibility in complex global supply chain resulting in improved efficiencies, decreased likelihood of product degradation, lower criminal activity, and improved patient experience. Types of Smart Packaging There are two types of smart packaging: (1) active packaging and (2) intelligent packaging. Both types of smart packaging are efficient ways to ensure quality control of pharmaceutical products throughout the supply chain. Active Packaging Active packaging physically protects products from exposure to oxygen and moisture. This is achieved through the inclusion of secondary materials in a packaging system (e.g., sachets and pads that absorb gas and moisture). It can also include the addition of oxygen-absorbing materials directly into a product’s primary packaging. Both are effective ways to ensure pharmaceutical products and medications are transported under optimal conditions as well as preventing product degradation. Intelligent Packaging Intelligent packaging is used to monitor, rather than alter, the conditions of the contents of a package and its surrounding environment. Intelligent packaging can, for example, determine whether a product has been exposed to oxygen or to a temperature outside its optimal range. It can also determine when a medication cap is first removed, the number of pills in a bottle, when a pill is removed, and when a pill is returned to its bottle. Intelligent packaging can therefore detect when a product has been tampered with. This has significant implications for highly controlled medications, like opiates and opioid agonists like methadone. Intelligent packaging therefore has the potential to strongly contribute to harm reduction associated with controlled substances used in medication assisted treatment or opioid agonist therapy. Not only can bottle caps use intelligent packaging technology, but so can the bottle itself. Recent developments in intelligent packaging involve the integration of modular smart bottle necks that are attached to bottles after the filling process. These smart necks are customized to fit various bottle sizes and shapes to enhance compatibility with filling and capping machines. Like smart caps, these bottle necks can help with medication adherence and harm reduction efforts by tracking how much of a medication is removed as well as when medication is returned to the bottle. Smart caps and bottles could be the future for liquid methadone prescriptions. Communication Through Packaging As discussed, one of the key functions of packaging is to communicate product information to the consumer. Providing additional instructions on packaging illustrates a one-way communicative function of pharmaceutical packaging. While beneficial, can technology allow for advanced two-way communication to enhance compliance packaging and keep physicians and patients connected? Near Field Communication (NFC) technology has indeed made this possible. Near Field Communication Technology Simply put, NFC is a type of wireless communication technology often used in smartphones. NFC technology can now be embedded into labels, packaging, products, and other materials to allow for new forms of consumer and patient engagement as well as tracking packages/shipments. Improved Medical Treatment Adding NFC technology to compliance packaging can greatly improve medication adherence. Not only can consumers receive product information by simply tapping an embedded NFC label (or scanning a QR code), but consumers can also tap to indicate when they take a prescribed dose. This information is helpful in preventing accidental double dosing. Again, this has positive implications for harm reduction in the addiction treatment space - especially with methadone assisted treatment. In addition, the data provided by the packaging and the patient's interactions can be sent to a healthcare provider to assess medication compliance. Physicians can even set dose reminders that can be communicated through notifications sent to an app, mobile device, or landline. There are also new "smart" medical bracelets to further monitor patients and send reminders. Printed electronics can also be added directly to blister packaging to instantly detect when a blister has been accessed. Improved Security Embedded NFC technology also has the power to improve product security by enabling real-time tracking of packages during transport. This technology can relay data regarding current conditions of the packaging like location, temperature, humidity, and damage to the package (e.g., if the package is ripped open, dropped, etc.). NFC can create a more efficient system for monitoring the security of pharmaceutical products during the journey from supplier to pharmacy to consumer. Smart Packaging Benefits All Stakeholders Despite the heftier price tag that comes with smart packaging, there are a host of benefits that surpass the cost in the long term. The main reason for this is that smart packaging benefits everyone from pharmaceutical manufacturers to healthcare providers, patients, and even at the level of the supply chain. Patients and Physicians Smart packaging allows physicians to monitor their patients’ activities and advise them on the best ways to take their medication. This leads to improved health outcomes and minimizes the risk of overdosing or improper medication use. Improved safety is not the only benefit for patients. The use of NFC technology and QR codes allows physicians and other healthcare providers to directly supply content to their patients. By simply scanning the QR code on their medication, patients can access additional product information like instructional videos on proper medication use. Healthcare Another important factor to note when considering smart packaging is its role in improving overloaded healthcare systems. Providing patients and physicians with new ways to connect outside of a clinical setting lessens the burden on the healthcare system. Patients are also provided with direct support more rapidly, eliminating wait times, and therefore contributing to improved health outcomes. Pharmaceutical Companies Pharmaceutical manufacturers also greatly benefit from smart packaging. For example, smart technology integrated into packaging gives the supplier a comprehensive view of the supply chain. This makes it easy for the pharmaceutical companies to safely distribute products and identify instances of criminal behaviour. This could include information indicating when shipments are intercepted, when packages are stolen, and when products are sold on the black market. Furthermore, smart packaging can help with serialization in that pharmaceutical companies can easily track specific serial numbers after distribution. This makes it much easier to identify missing shipments, ensuring quality control, and tracking intercepted packages. Are There Any Drawbacks? Unfortunately, most technological advancements are not without drawbacks or limitations. The key concern for most stakeholders is the cost of smart packaging. Not only does this affect packaging manufacturers, suppliers, and pharmaceutical companies, but it also affects patients. Why is this? Most prescription insurance providers refuse to cover any incremental cost that comes with the use of smart packaging. This in turn has made pharmaceutical manufacturers reluctant to use this technology in packaging for over-the-counter and prescription medications. Another potential drawback with smart packaging has to do with the transfer of sensitive data. The use of NFC technology involves the use of cloud-based storage for personal medical information. As such, there is the issue of data theft. However, this has perpetuated further collaboration between pharmaceutical companies and cloud-based storage companies to improve the encryption technology used in smart packaging. This is also illustrated in the growing use of telehealth and the switch to paperless storage of medical data. The Future of Smart Packaging Smart packaging is an exciting concept with a host of applications and benefits to virtually every stakeholder. This technology benefits the pharmaceutical industry by increasing efficiency, facilitating manufacturing and distribution, reducing shortages, and protecting patient health. Physicians can better monitor medication adherence and patients can experience improved health outcomes. As the technology advances, it is likely that physical sensors and chips will become even easier and more affordable to integrate into packaging. We truly hope the high cost of smart packaging can be addressed as this is the main barrier to using this type of technology in packaging. When this happens, the benefits of smart packaging technology will become exponentially clearer for everyone.

  • What Types of Pharmaceutical Packaging Are Available?

    LiquiMedLock | October 20, 2021 Elements of Medication Packaging Pharmaceutical packaging contains a combination of design elements necessary to safeguard, maintain, protect, and ensure medications are preserved for safe product use. Before we dive into a discussion about some of the various pharmaceutical packaging formats available to the medical community, let's briefly recall the the functions of pharmaceutical packaging for medications, supplements, and other drugs. Protects Products Pharmaceutical packaging for medications uses materials and closures designed to preserve the product. This means protecting the substance from sunlight, extreme temperatures, humidity, and oxidation. All packaging must be made from materials that will not emit any chemicals that could adversely react with the substance it is housing. When medications are packaged, it is done so in a sterile environment that meets specific health and safety standards to ensure good manufacturing practices. Gas flushing is usually used at this point to create airtight closures and seals. Sachets are also usually added to pill bottles to preserve the product. All of this is done to prevent product degradation, ensuring consumers receive a safe product. Communicates Information Apart from being used to store and protect drugs, pharmaceutical packaging is also useful for identifying, marketing, and promoting different household brands. The information contained on secondary pharmaceutical packaging (e.g., the outer box) must contain specific information to ensure consumers understand what the medication is for, how it works, what dosage to take, how to store the product, potential side effects, the expiration date and more. Compliant Packaging: Child Resistant Packaging Pharmaceutical packaging follows strict regulations in every country or region. Medication compliance packaging must protect consumers. This includes children. To ensure everyone's safety, child resistant caps and closures are mandatory for all medication packaging. Tamper evident features are also sometimes required to help track chain of custody. Like its name, these features allow you to identify when a product has potentially been tampered with. Pharmaceutical Packaging Formats Pharmaceutical packaging solutions provide numerous specialized storage vessels that address all safety requirements for medical packaging and pharmaceutical products. This facilitates the effective supply and containment of medical supplies for storage and transport, while making it easy to access by medical professionals and consumers alike. 1. Bottles Bottles are the most widely used packaging format for pharmaceuticals and medications. Bottles can come in various sizes with wide or narrow necks depending on the nature of the product in the package. Wide neck bottles are typically used for capsules and tablets. They may also be used for powder, but jars are usually used for powder products. Narrow neck bottles are usually used for liquids and perhaps some small tablets. Narrow neck bottles can come with a variety of caps depending on the nature of the pharmaceutical product. For example, narrow neck bottles can come with dropper caps (screw cap with graduated glass pipette), PIBA stoppers for small drops or use with an oral syringe, other dropper caps like those used for eye drops. Bottles come in glass or plastic. The material depends on the type of product it is meant to hold. Amber and darker shades of glass are typically used to protect pharmaceuticals from UV rays. Plastic is usually opaque to also protect products from direct sunlight. 2. Vials Vials are plastic or glass containers - almost like a small bottle with a flat base - that are generally used to store liquids as well as powders (sometimes solids). Vials are larger in size than similar packaging like ampoules. Vials are not the same as test tubes, which are elongated cylindrical tubes with a rounded base. There are a few different types of glass vial formats. The vial crimper and decapper are typically used in testing labs for blood or other liquids. These vials typically have a metal cap with rubber to form a proper seal. There is usually a needle integrated into the crimper allowing for the easy withdrawal of liquids. Lip vials are often used for cosmetics, oils, liquids, dry materials, and so forth. These vials typically use a cork plug. Screw vials have a threaded neck that is used with screw caps. These could be standard caps, child resistant caps, tamper evident caps, dropper caps, caps with PIBA stoppers, and so on. Plastic vials are also available. These vials typically have a built-in hinge cap that is directly attached to the vial and works like a pop top lid. 3. Ampoules Ampoules can look similar to vials but are smaller and usually contain a single dose of a pharmaceutical. This type of packaging is typically use for liquids or powders and come with lids that have been sealed using an open flame. This is done to prevent contamination. Larger manufacturers also use heat to close ampoules with hermetic seals. Some ampoules have long necks that can be snapped off. Ampoules can come in glass or plastic, with glass mostly being used for injectable pharmaceuticals. 4. Collection Tubes Collection tubes are used to store bodily fluids during transport to labs for testing. In this case, the tubes are typically vacuum sealed and made from plastic, like PET. The test tubes shown in this image are leakproof, spill proof, and shatterproof. Test tubes used in labs to run tests may be glass. Unlike vials and ampoules, collection tubes and test tubes have rounded bottoms and must be placed in holders to remain upright. 4. Blister Packs Blister packs are used to house single doses of gel capsules and tablets. They are preformed and come in various shapes and sizes. Blister packs are typically made from aluminum foil, plastic, or paper-based materials. This form of packaging has individual plastic or foil seals that are (usually) easy to puncture or pop out with your hands. 5. Sterile Packaging Sterile packaging is typically used for medical devices (e.g., urine cups, surgical masks, vacuum collection tubes, surgical equipment, lab equipment, etc.). Sterile packaging is often an aseptic plastic film made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE or PEHD) or polypropylene (PP) plastic. This type of packaging is crucial for preventing contamination and exposure to airborne particles. 6. Sachet Packaging Sachets are like square or rectangular pouches that can hold powder or solids (sometimes gels and liquids). This type of packaging can come in single dose sachets or resealable bags in which multiple single doses can be removed from. Sachets typically have a tamper evident notch at which you can tear the pack open from. Conclusion Pharmaceutical products require extreme care and safe packaging. That is why there are such strict packaging regulations for the pharmaceutical industry that must be followed. However, manufacturers need to start looking for more sustainable materials and production processes to help address the amount of packaging waste produced by the medical industry.

  • What is Pharmaceutical Packaging Made Of?

    LiquiMedLock | August 13, 2021 Pharmaceutical packaging is built to be safe, secure, informative, and convenient to use. More specifically, the two main functions of medical packaging and pharmaceutical packaging are to keep the product safe and to inform the user about proper medication use. Proper packaging is necessary to preserve pharmaceutical products during storage and to prevent degradation. This includes shielding the product from temperature, humidity, light, and other environmental factors. Pharmaceutical Packaging Involves Layers Packaging plays a main role in the pharmaceutical industry. When medication is packaged, especially over-the-counter products, it often comes in several layers of packaging. There are, in fact, three different layers of packaging: Primary Packaging refers to the innermost layer of packaging. This layer of packaging comes in direct contact with a pill, liquid, powder, or other pharmaceutical product. Primary packaging must maintain a stable internal environment to prevent the breakdown of the drug thereby ensuring the medication remains safe to use. Bottles often have a sachet inside that helps regulate moisture and temperature within the storage vessel. Primary packaging can come in the form of bottles, jars, tubes, pouches, blister packs, vials, syringes, and so on. Secondary packaging is the layer of packaging that houses the primary storage vessel. The purpose of secondary packaging is to communicate product information to the consumer to ensure the medication is safely stored and ingested. Tertiary packaging is the layer of packaging used to ship the products. Tertiary packaging is meant to secure the contents inside from external factors during storage and transport. If you start from the outermost layer working inwards, you could have only two layers. This could be a carboard box with blister packs of pills inside. In this case, there is only a secondary layer (the box) and a primary layer (the blister pack). Tertiary packaging comes into play during the shipping process. Pharmaceutical companies don't ship thousands of individual boxes of medication such as the one described. Instead, it is enclosed in tertiary packaging to keep products safe during storage and transport. Pharma Packaging Starts With Safe Materials Packaging materials for pharmaceuticals must be made of food-grade materials approved by governing healthcare organizations. The materials must be able to safely come into contact with an ingestible without emitting toxins or otherwise affecting the product. The pharmaceutical industry has been notoriously known for only using virgin plastics to store products. Of course, this is not a sustainable practice and trends are therefore changing. A pharmaceutical packaging company must offer products specifically designed for the medication it is intended to store. For example, liquid medications like methadone, must be stored in child resistant, tamper evident bottles that are both leakproof and shatterproof. In this way, packaging can play an integral role in enhancing harm reduction efforts in addiction treatment. Glass Glass is a popular material for medical packaging. This includes glass vials, ampoules, bottles, jars, syringes, and so on. Such packaging is ideal for liquids, injectables, dry powders, capsules, and tablets. Glass is a safe material because it does not emit any chemicals that could interact with and potentially changed the structural composition of the medication. Glass packaging can also come in opaque and translucent formats to protect pharmaceuticals from the harmful effects of UV rays. If you ever walk into the supplement aisle of a store, you will notice that most bottles are amber, green, or other dark colours. Plastic Plastic packaging and polymer-based packaging is another highly popular material used in pharmaceutical packaging. Plastic is shatterproof, durable, highly versatile, and can be safely transported. Bottles, jars, oral syringes, polybags, sachets, and portions of blister packaging made from plastic are therefore widely used. Specific, food-grade plastics must be used to prevent any adverse interactions between the pharmaceutical product and the plastic. Popular plastics used in compliant pharmaceutical packaging include polypropylene (P.P.), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and high-density PET (HDPE). Plastic is also more affordable than glass to produce, and generally more sustainable given the significant amount of energy required to manufacture glass. Aluminum Aluminum is also used in pharmaceutical packaging in the form of blister packs and foil seals. Blister packs are typically used for tablets and gel capsules. This packaging format also functions as tamper evident packaging because a pill cannot be removed with breaking the blister. Paper and Cardboard Cardboard and other paper-based materials are used as secondary and tertiary pharmaceutical packaging only. This includes boxes, bags, cartons, and more. Packaging Design Safe pharmaceutical packaging and other medical packaging must be designed with several features in mind. Of course, manufacturers and suppliers are concerned with the cost of materials and production during the design process. Designing packaging for compatibility with fillers and cappers is also another factor taken into consideration. However, pharmaceutical packaging should be designed to accommodate the needs of the consumer while also maintaining safety. This means protecting children by using child resistant medical packaging. It also means choosing the right materials and structure based on the chemical composition of the medication being stored in the packaging. The Shift to Organic Materials Given the environmental concerns associated with packaging production and waste, there has been a greater shift towards using eco-friendly, organic, and biodegradable materials in pharmaceutical packaging. This is especially true of smaller healthcare brands and companies that sell supplements. The raw materials used in sustainable medical packaging come from plants, animals, agricultural waste, ocean plastic, recycled plastics, and more. This can include cellulose, starch, cellulose, gelatin, and so on. Biodegradable packaging materials are becoming increasingly popular. Despite the (generally) higher cost of products housed in sustainable packaging, most consumers will pay a premium to help reduce their own carbon footprint. More and more consumers are looking for socially and environmentally responsible brands. We can therefore expect the popularity of sustainable packaging to continue rising. Medicine packaging regulations The pharmaceutical industry is governed by very strict packaging guidelines. Health Canada and the FDA are two such regulating bodies. These regulations apply to note only the packaging itself, but the manufacturing practices and facilities to ensure good manufacturing practices (GMP) are being followed. Manufacturing facilities must be certified under various ISO standards. This includes clean room certifications to ensure production facilities are sterile. Specific licenses must also be obtained for specific packaging for medical devices (e.g., MDL, MDEL). The World Health Organization (WHO) has also established international standards for pharmaceutical packaging. In general, all pharmaceutical products must have child resistant packaging with tamper evident features to help track chain of custody. There are also a host of elements that must be included on all product labels. This includes information like lot number, expiration date, proper product storage, proper product use and dosing, all active ingredients, and more. Pharmaceuticals Rely on Compliance Packaging As you can see, pharmaceutical packaging solutions play a key role in the healthcare sector and pharmaceutical industry. This is why it is imperative to use safe packaging materials as well as compliant packaging design for any and all pharmaceutical products. LiquiMedLock Has You Covered MedLock is proud to offer a range of child resistant medical packaging and tamper evident medical packaging. LiquiMedLock™ products are fully compliant and meet all necessary safety standards for compliance pharmaceutical packaging. Check out our story to learn more about the licenses and certifications we hold for good manufacturing practices.

  • A Brief Overview of Safe Medical Packaging in the Pharmaceutical Industry

    LiquiMedLock | February 16, 2021 The pharmaceutical industry requires secure and safe packaging to maintain the stability and identification of drugs. The packaging must be child resistant, yet uncomplicated, with a tamper evident feature to help establish chain of custody. Pharmaceutical packaging must also effectively protect medications and provide comprehensive information on proper product use for the consumer. The Purpose of Packaging for Pharmaceuticals The overall goal for pharmaceutical packaging is to ensure safe product use. This also includes using packaging materials that decrease risk of product contamination and degradation. If medications are stored in certain plastics, for example, certain chemicals may be emitted from the plastic which will than interact with the medication. This could alter the drug's chemical structure. If this happens, the medication may become ineffective or even toxic if consumed. Packaging Formats There are many different formats of pharmaceutical packaging and medical packaging. Some examples include vials, bottles, jars, blister packs, sachets, syringes, ampoules, cartons, boxes, containers, aluminum, glass, and other plastic storage vessels. The types of materials used determines the requirements and specifications needed for quality testing. Quality Testing For example, the containers are tested for water resistance and chemical resistance. The closures are also tested for child resistance, tamper evidence, airtight seals, and more. According to the regulatory requirements in pharmaceutical packaging, good compliance packaging maintains the medicines’ therapeutic effectiveness till the time they are consumed. The Role of Packaging Products The type of packaging used for pharmaceuticals and medications depends on the drug's chemical composition as well as drug class. This must be kept in mind when considering how the product will be stored, transported, and used by consumers. Packaging Design Ideal medical packaging should allow for easy removal of the materials - while still having a child resistant tested and certified closure - and must keep medications in place to prevent product loss. Storage vessels must not be made from any materials that could have any physical or chemical impact on the medication. Airtight Storage Packaging pharmaceuticals in airtight containers and other packaging formats provides resistance to all types of external contaminants during shipping, handling, and storage. If the container needs to be opened more than once, it is important to remember to recheck the airtight feature when closing the container. Pharmaceutical packaging must be resistant to oxygen and other gaseous compounds. All pharmaceutical packaging must be designed using materials that prevent water absorption and ensures moisture resistance. Active packaging components, like humidity sachets, can be easily added to bottles, jars, and other containers. Ensuring packaging is durable and can withstand physical forces is imperative for highly controlled medications as well as everyday medications like cold and flu meds. Effective Communication and Labelling Pharmaceutical packaging must include all important information on intended product use, dosages, proper product storage, batch/lot number, expiration date, active chemicals, non-active ingredients (some individuals have allergies to certain fillers), and so forth. Instructions should be written in plain language to ensure a wide range of people can easily interpret and understand the information being presented. Large enough font should also be used. The most important information should standout in high-contrast, easy-to-read typography so critical knowledge is not overlooked. Child Resistance Children are curious by nature. It can be incredibly easy for anyone to accidentally leave a pill bottle out or forget to lock a cupboard door. Child resistant closures are therefore always required for any pharmaceutical product. Tamper evident features are also beneficial for the safety of the intended user and others. Safety and Security Pharmaceutical packaging is mean to provide safe and secure storage during the transportation of sensitive goods, like medications, while also preventing the risk of product contamination and toxicity. The pharmaceutical industry uses advanced packaging methods to provide consistent, effective protection of medications to decrease the risk of health hazards. Interested in LiquiMedLock products? Contact us to get started.

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