A CSTD is a Closed System Transfer Device. It is a means by which liquid medication is injected directly into the blood stream, often through an IV-type of situation but without the use of needles. It is considered "closed" because medications cannot be drawn without first locking the device onto the medication bottle. Not a single drop of medication is wasted or lost because the device does not allow the bottle to leak. The device also prevents medical staff from coming into contact with these medications, as they are extremely hazardous for anyone that does not need them.
Just as these devices exist for these kinds of highly controlled substances, so do CSTD pharmacies. A CSTD pharmacy is an important part in bottling and preparing medications that hospitals can use. Doctors and nurses who care for patients in the privacy of patients' homes also have access to the medications provided by CSTD pharmacies. The following is just an example of what a CSTD pharmacy provides, and what they do.
Cytotoxic Agents--Mixing and Compounding
Cytotoxic means "cell death." As you can probably guess, these are chemicals that kill cells in the body, typically cancer cells that patients do not want. To protect staff that administer these agents to patients with cancer, the CSTD is securely attached to the top of the bottle or vial of medication. Another part of the CSTD attaches to a plastic syringe to draw up the fluid. It locks onto the CSTD on the top of the bottle. The pharmacy makes sure that all of these agents are mixed properly, that the CSTD components are ready for use, and that the CSTD components cannot possibly leak.
Interferon and Other IV-Only Drugs
Interferon is regularly used to treat diseases like Lyme's disease and multiple sclerosis. There are other similar drugs that can only be administered by IV. These drugs are also compounded and bottled in CSTD pharmacies to make them safer for medical staff to administer.
By removing the needles from many of these IV-only medications, the CSTD components provide staff with a much safer means of giving these medications. In fact, these medications, with the use of the CSTD, are so safe that they can be purchased and used at home under the guidance and care of a doctor or registered nurse. Patients can purchase and pick up some of these medications on their own from a CSTD pharmacy.