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Disposal of Unused Medication

The Hazards Of Improper Disposal of Unused And Expired medications.

Medications that are flushed down the toilet or thrown straight into the garbage can and do find their way into our water systems every day. Those drugs are present in water that supports many species of fish and other wildlife. There are reports of fish abnormalities possibly caused by improperly disposed prescription medications. There is also a rapidly rising occurence of Anti Biotic tolerance (drugs not working) in humans.

Just three small steps can make a huge difference:

  • 1. DO NOT FLUSH unused medications*. Consumers were once advised to flush their expired or unused medications; however, recent environmental impact studies report that this could be having an adverse impact on the environment. While the rule of thumb is not to flush, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that certain medications should be flushed due to their abuse potential. Read the instructions on your medication and talk to your pharmacist.
  • 2. When tossing unused medications, protect children and pets from the potentially negative effects. Here′s what to do:
    • Crush solid medications or dissolve them in water (this applies for liquid medications as well) and mix with kitty litter or sawdust (or any material that absorbs the dissolved medication and makes it less appealing for pets or children to eat), then place in a sealed plastic bag BEFORE tossing in the trash.
    • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from the medication container.
    • Check for approved state and local collection programs or with area hazardous waste facilities. In certain countries, you may be able to take your unused medications to your local pharmacy.
  • 3. Talk To Your Pharmacist. Research shows that pharmacists are one of the most accessible healthcare professionals. As the medication experts on the healthcare team, pharmacists are available to guide you on how to properly dispose of your unused medications.

Following these simple steps can help protect your family and community, minimize a potential negative impact on the environment, and prevent the illegal diversion of unused medications.

*Note: The FDA advises that the following drugs be flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash:

  • Actiq (fentanyl citrate)
  • Daytrana Transdermal Patch (methylphenidate)
  • Duragesic Transdermal System (fentanyl)
  • OxyContin Tablets (oxycodone)
  • Avinza Capsules (morphine sulfate)
  • Baraclude Tablets (entecavir)
  • Reyataz Capsules (atazanavir sulfate)
  • Tequin Tablets (gatifloxacin)
  • Zerit for Oral Solution (stavudine)
  • Meperidine HCl Tablets
  • Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)
  • Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate)
  • Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)