23-SEP-2015: Dr Syed Ziaur Rahman, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, J N Medical College, Aligarh Muslim University recently delivered a guest lecture on ‚??Drug Residues as Environmental Pollutants and Potential Impact on Human Health and Life‚?? at the 15th Annual Conference of Society of Pharmacovigilance India (SoPI) at Kolkatta.
During his lecture, Dr Rahman highlighted the significance of drug-environment interaction and its impact on human health and life.
Dr Rahman lamented that drugs interact with the environment in diverse ways. He said that drugs cause various modifications including bacterial drug resistance when they interact with the aquatic system, ground water, surface water, sewage systems, flora and fauna of the ecosystems.
He informed that drug residues might reach the environment by a number of different routes such as patients‚?? excretion as either a parent compound or metabolites, via the sewer system.
‚??Drugs are released into the waste water system from manufacturing, hospitals or disposed via toilets and sinks,‚?? said Dr Rahman adding that even when wastewater makes it to sewage treatment facilities, they are not equipped to remove pharmaceuticals. He added that as a result, our streams and rivers are exposed to a cocktail of synthetic compounds from stimulants and antibiotics to analgesics and antihistamines.
He stated that it is a well-known fact that drugs interact frequently with the environment and some of these interactions may have deleterious effects on human health and life such as the exacerbation of various autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, systemic sclerosis, systematic lupus erythematosis and anti-neutrophil cytoplasmic antibody related vasculitis.
Dr Rahman further said that another important aspect of environment-drug interaction is the effect of endocrine disruptors that may interfere with the production or activity of hormones in living organisms.
He warned that the potential effect in males cause poor semen quality including low sperm counts, low ejaculate volume, high number of abnormal spermatozoa motility.
‚??Other effects may include testicular cancer, malformed reproductive tissue vis undescended testes, small penis size, prostate disease and other unrecognized abnormalities of male reproductive tissues, female diseases including breast and reproductive organ tissue cancers, fibrocystic disease of the breasts, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, uterine fibroid and pelvic inflammatory diseases,‚?? said Dr Rahman.
Dr Rahman pointed out that the potential effects in children have been linked with impaired behavior, mental, immune and thyroid functions. He also pointed out that other effects in children include precocious puberty, osteoporosis, foetal growth, child development, and obesity.
During the lecture, Dr Rahman also said that the third group of environmental contaminants is of heavy metals that can be found on the surface and in the tissues of fresh vegetables. ‚??Certain trace elements are essential in plant nutrition, but plants growing in a polluted environment can accumulate trace elements at high concentrations causing a serious risk to human health when they are consumed,‚?? he said adding that a prolonged exposure to heavy metals such as cadmium, copper, lead, nickel, and zinc can cause deleterious health effects in humans.
Dr Rahman, who is also the National Secretary of SoPI had earlier coined the ‚??Pharmacoenvironmentology‚?? term for the study of drugs eliminating into the environment from living organisms. During the programme, he also addressed in the inaugural and valedictory functions and presented a comprehensive report on activities and current scenario in the field of Pharmacovigilance in India.
Professor Bhabatosh Biswas, Vice Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences; Prof Sushanta Kumar Bandyopadhyay, Director of Medical Education, Government of West Bengal; Dr Sten Olsson, WHO Programme Expert, Uppsala Monitoring Centre, Sweden; Dr Shanti Pal, Group Lead, Drug Safety, WHO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland and Prof K C Singhal, Founder-President SoPI also spoke and presented their views on different aspect of Pharmacovigilance.