The Life-Cycle of Pharmaceuticals in the Environment identifies pathways of entry of pharmaceuticals into the environment, beginning with the role of global prescribing and disposal practices. The book then discusses typical levels of common pharmaceuticals and how they can be determined in natural waters such as raw and treated sewage, and in potable water. In addition, sections examine methods currently available to degrade pharmaceuticals in natural waters and some of their ecotoxicological impacts, along with future considerations and the growing concept of product stewardship.

Key Features

  • Encompasses the full lifecycle of common pharmaceuticals, from prescription and dispensing practices to their occurrence in a range of different types of natural waters and their environmental impact
  • Explores the role of the healthcare system and its affect on users
  • Beneficial for environmental engineers involved in the design and operation of appropriate degradation technologies of the pharmaceutical prescription and disposal practices 


Scientists, researchers and students in the area of Pharmaceutics.

Table of Contents

  • Dedication
  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1: Introduction
    • Abstract
    • 1.1 Overview: Do pharmaceuticals pose a significant environmental risk?
    • 1.2 Hazardous substances
    • 1.3 Pathways to the environment: Life-cycle of pharmaceuticals
    • 1.4 Conclusions
  • 2: Prescribing practices
    • Abstract
    • 2.1 Pharmaceuticals in legislative and healthcare systems
    • 2.2 The role of patient medical adherence
    • 2.3 Strategies to minimize medication nonadherence
    • 2.4 “Doctor, it just doesn’t work!”—Pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and pharmaceutical waste
    • 2.5 “How much are those antibiotics? I want ’em!”
    • 2.6 Accumulation of unused medications
    • 2.7 Strategies to prevent accumulation of unused pharmaceuticals
  • 3: Disposal of unused medications
    • Abstract
    • 3.1 Overview
    • 3.2 The origins of unused medication
    • 3.3 Medication disposal by households
    • 3.4 Attitudes toward medication disposal
    • 3.5 Feasibility of take-back programmes for unused medication
    • 3.6 Management of pharmaceutical waste at take-back depots
    • 3.7 The “best” method for the disposal of unused medications?
    • 3.8 Conclusions
  • 4: Detection and presence of pharmaceuticals in the environment
    • Abstract
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 Environmental detection of pharmaceuticals
    • 4.3 Sample collection
    • 4.4 Sample extraction
    • 4.5 Chromatographic separation of environmental sample extracts
    • 4.6 Mass spectrometric detection and quantitation
    • 4.7 Environmental concentrations of some common pharmaceuticals
    • 4.8 Summary
  • 5: Impact of pharmaceuticals on the environment
    • Abstract
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 Environmental risk assessment methodologies<


No. of pages:
© 2016
Woodhead Publishing
Electronic ISBN:
Print ISBN:

About the authors

B.M. Peake

Barrie M. Peake is an Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Otago, Dunedin New Zealand.

R. Braund

Dr Rhiannon Braund is an Associate Professor in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Alfred Tong

Alfred Tong is a doctoral graduate from the School of Pharmacy and the Department of Chemistry, at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Louis Tremblay

Dr Louis Tremblay is an ecotoxicologist at the Cawthron Institute , Nelson, New Zealand and a Senior Lecturer at the School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand.