If you’re like most seniors you have some old and expired medications in your medicine drawer or cabinet. You know that drawer, which is overflowing with stuff, and every time you open it you make a mental note to clean it up, but after you close the drawer you forget about it until the next time.
Stop procrastinating. It’s time to go through that drawer, check the labels and get rid of those expired medications.
The FDA recommends that you never take any medications after the expiration date, because the chemical composition of the medicine has changed. If medicine is taken after the expiration date it can have a weaker effect, stronger effect or no effect at all. In severe cases, the medicine can be a serious risk to your well-being. The FDA offers recommended steps and protocols for disposing those unused and expired medications.
Steps for proper disposal:
- In order to protect your privacy and personal health information it’s important to remove all identifying information on the container with a sharpie marker or scratch it off until completely unreadable.
- Follow the disposal instructions on the prescription drug label: Do not flush medicines down the sink or toilet unless this information specifically instructs you to do so.
- National Prescription Drug Take-Back Events: The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration with local law enforcement offers community drug take-back programs, providing a central location for proper medication disposal. Check with your city or county trash and recycling service for the next Drug Take-Back Event.
If No take-back program is available in your community and the medication has no disposal instructions on the label follow these steps.
- Mix liquid medicine with unfavorable materials like cat litter, dirt or coffee grinds.
- Place pills in water to dissolve and dilute, and then add cat litter, dirt or coffee grinds.
- Place the mixture in an opaque container, like a yogurt container, sealable bag, empty can, or other container and secure it to ensure it doesn’t leak or break in the garbage.
- Place the secured container hidden deep within in the trash, so it is less noticeable to pets, children and others seeking drugs. DO NOT RECYCLE!
- If you are ever in doubt about proper disposal call your pharmacist for advice.
Personalized Senior Pharmacy Services
Our free Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program offers personalized counseling from a pharmacist to help you evaluate and organize all of your medications for the safest, most effective results possible. To learn more about our personalized, hassle-free pharmacy services, contact our team online with your questions. Or call us toll-free at 1-866-999-3741.