How to Dispose fo Drugs

Is your medicine cabinet filled with old, unused and expired prescriptions? What is the best way to properly dispose of your unwanted pills?

The safest way to get rid of unused drugs (both prescription and over-the-counter) is to give them to a community "take-back" program. These programs, which are offered by many state or county governments' trash and recycling services, collect unused drugs and safely dispose them. Contact your local government officials to find out if there are any "take-back" programs nearby.

If no take-back programs are available in your area, carefully read the drug label for disposal information. Drug companies will sometimes list specific disposal information on the drug container or patient information.

Some- but not all- drugs can be flushed down the toilet. For a list of flushable medications, see the Food and Drug Administration's reference page: LINK TO

http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/ResourcesForYou/Consumers/BuyingUsingMedicineSafely/EnsuringSafeUseofMedicine/SafeDisposalofMedicines/ucm186187.htm#MEDICINES

If you cannot find specific information on drug disposal, the next safest option to throw the drugs in your household garbage. The United States Food and Drug Administration suggests that if you throw unused pills into your garbage, you mix them with coffee grounds, kitty litter or some other unwanted substance to lessen their potential appeal to children, animals or other unwanted users.

Be sure to scratch off identifying labels and personal information from pill containers before discarding them.

For more information on the safe disposal of unused or unwanted drugs, visit the United States Food and Drug Administration's webpage at: http://www.fda.gov/forconsumers/consumerupdates/ucm101653.htm

For a quick checklist go to PATIENT MEDICATION DISPOSAL WORKSHEET

Patient Medication Worksheet

Too often, we go to the Doctors with questions and once we are there forget what we would like to discuss. Have you ever stopped and wondered, "What are all these pills for?" "What happens if you stop a pill or maybe add one extra?" In fact, getting answers to these questions could save your life.

Problems with medications can happen when you and your Doctors don’t communicate well. The mission of this section is to help you communicate and ask questions of your healthcare team about your medications.

Your role in the team is the most important one. No one knows you like you do!