To avoid chaos or any confusion with your medicines, it is important to dispose of old medication which is no longer in use. All the expired, unwanted as well as any unused medication should be disposed of quickly and safely to avoid any subsequent health hazards or any accidental/intentional misuse. But to know how to dispose of old medication in the right way is absolutely crucial.
Safest Ways To Dispose of Old Expired Medicines
- Exercising the option of medicine take-back.
- Dispose of medicine in household trash.
- Dangerous pills and other prescription drugs to be flushed out in the toilet.
How To Exercise The Medicine Take-Back Option?
As it is important to remove the unused medicines at the earliest to avoid any accidental or intentional misuse, a take-back option is considered one of the preferred ways to dispose of unused medications. If you are looking for how to dispose of old medication, here are two options available under the take-back as:
- Permanent Collection Site
There are DEA registered collectors available that can collect the medicines with controlled substances securely and dispose of safely. You may find such collection sites in clinic pharmacies, retail pharmacies, and hospitals. Some of these collection sites also have ‘drop-boxes’ to help the consumers to dispose of unused medications.
To locate such collection sites, you can visit the DEA website in a particular area. Alternatively, you can call at 1-800-882-9539 to know about the authorized collection center.
- Periodic Events
Several National Prescription Drug Take-back events are organized by the DEA to offer a safe disposition of unused medications. Local waste management authorities and local law enforcement agencies also sponsor such events to promote the take-back events.
Expired Medication Disposal in The Household Trash
To prevent the misuse of expired and old pills, flushing of medicines or throwing in the trash can be initiated for safe medication disposal. This method is generally adopted when there is no DEA agency available in your vicinity or there are no specific instructions are provided on the medicines you want to dispose of. This is how to dispose of old medication in the household trash:
- Combine all the medicines which are not in use with substances like used coffee grounds, dirt, and litter.
- Avoid the crushing of medicines.
- Take a plastic bag and fill this mixture in it.
- Throw it in the household trash.
- Dispose of the empty bottles of pills after removing all the information and prescription mentioned on it.
How To Dispose of Antibiotics Medicines And Other Prescription Drugs?
There are certain medications like antibiotics that are very harmful I consumed by the person other than those who are prescribed for it. Hence, it is highly recommended to flush off these medicines as soon as these are not required. Dispose of amoxicillin is generally done with this method. If there is no DEA-registered agency available in the vicinity, these medicines should be disposed of immediately to avoid its accidental exposure to others.
If there are specified instructions provided on the medicines on how to dispose of old medication, it is recommended to follow similar steps. But the medicines which are listed on the flushing list must be flushed out properly. However, the FDA listed 15 medicines that have environmental hazards, if flushed. However, the environmental risk associated is negligible when compared to the hazards associated with its accidental exposure.
So, if the take-back option is not readily available, disposing of using other methods can be adopted avoid any potential risk associated with the accidental exposure or intentional misuse.
Can You Take Expired Vitamins?
Is it bad to take expired supplements? No! As the supplements do not lose their potency even after their expiration date, you can safely take expired vitamins. However, there are certain specified types of supplements that are recommended not to use after expiry. It is important that these supplements must be stored away from humidity, heat, and light.
These supplement tablets are most likely to last for two years from the date of its manufacturing. The supplement oils, probiotics, and liquids are considered more fragile and recommended to use up to one year from the date of manufacturing.
Most of the vitamin supplements are provided with the conservative expiration date to ensure high-quality health services so these supplements are unlikely to cause much harm. However, to achieve the best results, you should avoid using supplements beyond their expiration date. But these supplements are unlikely to cause any harm I used after the expiration date.
Is It Possible To Recycle Pill Bottles?
Once you are sure of how to dispose of old medication, the next step is to deal with the leftover pill bottles. To ensure the recycling prescription bottles, it is significant to remove the label over such a bottle. As most of the take-back programs do not accept the empty pill bottles, it is important to keep them away from landfills.
You can give them a second life by using it creatively at your home. From hiding your keys to keeping the matchsticks to avoid moisture, there are several constructive ways in which pill bottles can be used. You can use them for storing small items like sewing accessories, tiny craft supplies, and bobby pins.
Although your pill bottles cannot be recycled with curbside recycling, programs like Gimme 5, to recycle it. It is worth noticing to never use these pill bottles for food storage purposes. It is important that these bottles should be absolutely empty when used for recycling purposes. If you are planning to dispose of in the garbage, ensure that the bottles are empty.
How To Dispose of Liquid Medication?
It is important to inspect the expired liquid medication before disposing of it. There are certain liquid medicines that even solidify after expiration. So if you are planning to flush such medicines off, there are chances that it might get struck the flush system of your toilet. Add some water to maintain its liquid consistency. If you find the lumps after adding the water, you can use a spoon or fork to remove them.
Liquid medication must be sealed in a plastic bag before disposing of it in the trash. Ensure to add some debris or other unappetizing substance to the plastic bag to make it disgusting so that no one is likely to dig it. Especially over-the-counter drugs like cough syrups, once the medication is not in use, these should dispose of immediately if close to its expiration. These medications have harmful effects equivalent to the prescribed medicines.
It is important to know how to dispose of old medication properly to keep our environment and loved ones safe from their hazardous effects. You can visit the DEA website to know about the special take-back events and to locate the DEA-authorized collector in your vicinity.