How to Dispose of Medicines: Used & Unused
Is your medicine box full of expired medicines or medicines you’re not using anymore? It’s your medication. It would or was healthy for you but for somebody else, it might be dangerous. Your expired, discarded or unused medications are best available through a medicinal product retrieving service – or you can do it at home.
Discard services for drugs & medicines
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in local authorities is funded by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Many communities have drug-reduction services of their own. In order to locate a place near you, or the DEA, checks the local police officers to locate a collector in the community approved by the DEA.
Your pharmacist may also be consulted. Some pharmacies provide drop-offs in prescription, mail-back services and other ways to help you get your expired medications safely.
How to dispose medicinal products at home
If a take-back method is difficult to use, drugs can be disposed of at home in two ways, depending on the medication.
Medicines for flushing: Since certain drugs can be extremely dangerous to others, they have clear instructions such that they can be automatically flushed down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed.
How are you going to know? Check your drug mark or patient information booklet. Or consult the United States List of medicines for disposal recommended by flush when a reception alternative is not readily available by Food and Drug Administration. Don’t flush your pharmaceutical unless it’s in the flush list.
Medicine in household garbage: if there is not a retrieval programme, most medicines can be dumped into your household trash, except the ones on the FDA flush list (see below). That include OTC medications in tablets, fluids, drops, patches and creams. They also include prescription drugs.
Take the following steps:
- Remove the medications from their containers and combine them with something unwanted, like coffee, dirt or cat litter. It is less enticing for kids and animals and it is not recognisable for those who might go through the waste to hunt for drugs deliberately.
- Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-stitching zipper storage bag, can or container) to stop leakage or spills of the medication.
- Throw the waste bag.
- Tap on empty drug packaging for all your personal details in order to protect your identity and privacy. Throw away the box.
- Ask your health care provider or pharmacist if you have a concern about your prescription.
Fentanyl Patches Structure
The fentanyl patch is an example of a product containing a strong opioid drug which can be detrimental to non-prescribed individuals. A good pain reliever is provided by this adhesive patch.
Most of the drug remains even after a patch is used. That’s why the medication comes with instructions to flush used or unused patches.
Arrangement for inhalers
Inhalers used by people with asthma or other respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders are an environmental issue. Read the labelling guidelines for inhalers and aerosol items for handling.
These materials can be toxic if they are perforated or thrown into a fire or incinerator. Contact your garbage and recycling plant to dispose of these items appropriately and comply with local rules and laws.
Water supply and flushing medications
Some people wonder if it is all right to flush some drugs if there is not a simple way to take back. Small amounts of drugs are concerned in surface waters such as rivers and reservoirs and in the supply of drinking water.
“With drugs taken and then naturally passed through the bodies, medication residues enter water systems mainly,” says Raanan Bloom, PhD, an FDA environmental specialist. “Some drugs do not fully absorb or metabolise the body and after transit, through wastewater treatment plant they can reach the environment.”
The FDA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency take the concerns of flushing certain medicines in the environment seriously. Still, there has been no sign of environmental effects caused by flushing recommended drugs. In fact, the FDA published a paper to assess this concern, finding negligible risk of environmental effects caused by flushing recommended drugs.
For more information on what to do when you no longer need your medicines, visit this FDA page.
How to Dispose of Medicines: Used & Unused