How to Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine

Many are often confused about how to properly dispose  of their old or unused medicines. Should they throw them in the trash, crush them up, or flush them? Expired, unwanted, or unused medications can pose a serious health risk especially to those living with small children. Unfortunately, confusion about how to dispose of these drugs often prevents individuals from removing them from their homes safely.

When it comes to disposal, it’s important to know what methods are discouraged. While a few especially harmful medicines have specific disposal instructions that indicate they should be flushed down the sink or toilet , flushing most medications, whether liquid or solid, down the toilet is not the best way to remove a drug from your home. The FDA recommends that, aside from the dangerous medications that warrant flushing, all other expired, unwanted, or unused medicines should be disposed of by using “a medicine take-back program, if available, or by throwing them away in the household trash.” Before throwing them away, you can render your medications unusable by mixing the medicines with an “unpalatable substance” like kitty litter or glue.

You can find instructions on how to dispose of your medicines at DailyMed, by searching on the drug name, and then looking in one of the following sections of the prescribing information. If you have additional questions about disposing of your medicine, please contact the FDA at 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332).

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) second National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is this Saturday, April 30. More than 4,700 sites nationwide have joined the effort that seeks to prevent pill abuse and theft. Government, community, public health and law enforcement partners at these drug take-back sites will be working together to collect expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs that are potentially dangerous if left in the family’s medicine cabinet.

+ Find a National Prescription Drug Take-Back collection site near you!
+ Read the FDA’s Stance on “Safe Disposal of Unused Medicines”

2 thoughts on “How to Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine

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