Medication Take-Back Programs: Medication Take-Back programs are a good way to remove unwanted and unused medications. Contact your city or county government's household trash and recycling services to learn about Take-Back Program in your community. You can also visit DEA's website for information on National Prescription Drug Take-Back program.
Disposal in Household Trash: Certain non-chemotherapeutic and non controlled drugs can be disposed of in household trash by following these steps:
- Remove them from their original container and mix them with some undesirable substance such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter to make it undesirable to use for others.
- Transfer it to a sealed bag, container or empty can to prevent breakage or leaking.
- Before throwing your empty pill bottles or container, remove the label and other personal information.
- Consult your nearest pharmacist to know more about non-controlled and non-chemotherapeutic medications.
Flushing the medications: Certain medications have specific disposal instructions such as flushing down the sink or toilet. These can cause harm to others such as kids or pets if taken accidentally. Here is the list of medications recommended to be flushed by toilet.
Medsaway: Medsaway is a new drug disposal system. It is designed to help consumers comply with medication disposal recommendations provided by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Medsaway works for OTC and prescription medications including narcotics. The Medsaway pouches are available at stores. You add medication and water into it and it starts to neutralize and deactivate the drug. Then the bag will be sealed and disposed off in trash.
Sharps: These are designed to dispose of both insulin and pen needles. Sharps containers are leak-proof and puncture resistant containers for safe, convenient disposal. When full, the containers can be dropped off at a collection site such as hospitals, pharmacies, fire departments or they can be mailed out for a nominal fee. Used sharps can also be exchanged for new ones. Contact North American Syringe Exchange Network for more information
Other Methods: Store like Walgreens or CVS also sell those ''Take Away'' Bags for drug disposal. It is a secure and convenient way to mail out your unused and unwanted medications. The only limitation is that it does not work for controlled substances. Certain devices such as inhalers comes with handling and disposal instructions by manufacturer. More information about sharps, medical devises and needles disposal can be found here.
Click here to know about EPA guidelines for drug disposal.
Additional information about drug disposal guidelines, precautions, environmental concerns can be found in Consumer Health Information by FDA
Posted by Kamaldeep Kainth PharmD candidate 2015