Proper Disposal of Unused, Unwanted, or Expired Drugs

Proper disposal of unused, unwanted, or expired medications eliminates the risk of intentional or accidental medication misuse. A common risk associated with having unsecured medications at your home is the accidental ingestion by pets or children which could lead to immediate harm or even death. There are various safe and convenient ways of properly disposing of medications. The safest way is by locating a drug disposal box which can be found throughout your community. Local police departments and some pharmacies have an on-site drug disposal box or a mail-back program available.

However, if a drug disposal box is unavailable, there are ways of properly disposing of medications at home. The first step is by checking the medication bottle for drug disposal instructions. If there are none present, check the FDA Flush List to see if the medication can be flushed in the toilet. If so, toss the loose pills in the toilet then immediately flush. If the medication is not on the FDA Flush List, loose pills can be mixed with dirt, coffee grounds, or cat litter then sealed in a bag or container prior to throwing it in the trash. Prior to throwing away the medication bottles in the trash, please ensure that all patient information is removed or crossed-off.

Hormones, hazardous and chemotherapy medication should NOT be thrown in your household trash. If no take-back program is available, hormones, hazardous and chemotherapy medication should be returned to the pharmacy or the prescriber for proper disposal.

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