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Getting Rid of Unused Medicines

While doing house calls on my senior homebound citizens, I am sometimes amazed at old prescription bottles ‘hoarded’ in cabinets and drawers.

Many people have no idea when the medicines expired. I have found some as old as ten years.

Face it, people have difficulty throwing away their pill bottles, just in case they need it again or to avoid ‘waste’.

Due to dangers associated, we need to get rid of unused pills. Not an easy task especially with your parents.

Here are some recommendations from FDA:

Transfer Unused Medicine to Authorized Collectors for Disposal

Disposal in Household Trash

  • Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
  • Throw the container in your household trash;
  • Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.

Flushing of Certain Medicines:

  • For dangerous drugs, the FDA says flushing is an option. But trace amounts of drugs can end up in the water supply and possibly harm aquatic life. Flush dangerous drugs such as opioids only if there is absolutely no other choice.
  • Link to the list:

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