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FDA Launches Drug Disposal Advice Web Page

Flushing recommended for some drugs with potentially deadly effects

FRIDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched a new Web page for consumers to educate them on the safe disposal of certain medicines that can be dangerous or even fatal if they end up in the wrong hands.

The Web page lists drugs that should be flushed down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed, with the aim of protecting children and others from accidentally swallowing them. The FDA recommends that drugs not on the list be disposed of in household trash, but advises that they should be mixed with an unpalatable substances like coffee grounds or kitty litter then placed in a sealed plastic bag first.

Although all medications contain disposal instructions in the professional prescribing information, these instructions are not targeted at consumers, and the FDA's Web page provides information in a user-friendly format. The list of drugs recommended for disposal by flushing includes high-potency opioids such as Demerol and morphine sulfate, as well as other controlled substances.

"For some potent medicines that can cause harm or death if inadvertently taken by family members, the FDA currently recommends flushing them down the sink or toilet to immediately and permanently remove them from the home," said Douglas Throckmorton, M.D., deputy center director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research in Silver Spring, Md., in a statement.

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