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Ready to Throw Away Unused Medications? Discover the Proper Way.

It's overwhelming to see over thirty bottles of unused prescriptions piling up in your medicine cabinet. Expired and unused pills serve little purpose other than to decorate your cabinet and clutter useful space. One may be tempted to take a large garbage bag and “dump away” all these unwanted drugs. So what is the proper way of discarding unwanted prescriptions? Aside from environmental factors, there are other concerns and safety precautions involved in medication dumping.  

Here are some Tips to consider before disposing medications: 

1. Read prescription labels for disposal instructions. Many pill bottles provide medication disposal instructions printed on the label. If you have difficulty finding this information on the label, take the container to the pharmacy for further assistance and instructions. 

2. Inquire with your city or pharmacy on “take-back” programs available. These are centers where individuals bring medications for proper disposal.

3. When in doubt contact a Pharmacist. Be sure the individual who is providing assistance is a certified Pharmacist not to a technician. A Pharmacist can offer step-by-step guidance and protocols for specific medication(s) you are looking to dispose. 

4. The is a great resource center for appropriate medication clearance, offering alternative suggestions when “take-back” centers are unavailable, or when pill labels lack disposal instructions:

If no disposal instructions are given on the prescription drug labeling and no take-back program is available in your area, throw the drugs in the household trash following these steps. 1. Remove them from their original containers and mix them with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drug less appealing to children and pets, and unrecognizable to people who may intentionally go through the trash seeking drugs). 2. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can, or other container to prevent the drug from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.

5. The FDA also provides a list of medications considered safe for flushing. Click here to review the list.

6. Injections and syringes can be taken to the doctor's office or to a nearby hospital for disposal. When in doubt, contact a pharmacist who can assist with specific questions and concerns.

7. Be sure to remove medication labels, or scratch-off any personal information prior to discarding any containers.

in Medicine Hits: 2040

Yeneilyn is a Registered Nurse in the state of Florida since 2006. Her nursing practice began in the field of Cardiology at Mount Sinai Medical Hospital and expanded to care for clients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). She was provided the opportunity as LPN Instructor, which changed the course of her nursing career. She states, “Teaching nursing students expanded my view on positive influences nurses contribute beyond beside care. Nurses are central leaders in health education, client advocacy, and disease prevention.” Currently, Yeneilyn writes health articles and prepares Continuing Education (C.E.) courses for healthcare professionals. She continues her studies in the field of Nursing Education and evidenced-based nursing practice. In her free time she enjoys sharing time with family and friends.

For questions or topics of interest contact Nurse Yenny at:    




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Guest Monday, 10 December 2018