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Health Tip: Throwing Out Leftover Medicine

What to do with drugs you no longer use

Please note: This article was published more than one year ago. The facts and conclusions presented may have since changed and may no longer be accurate. And "More information" links may no longer work. Questions about personal health should always be referred to a physician or other health care professional.

(HealthDay News) --If your medicine cabinet is chock-full of expired or unneeded medications, you can throw them out properly without endangering your family or harming the environment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration describes how:

  • Follow any disposal instructions that came with your meds.
  • If there are no disposal instructions, remove the drugs from their containers and mix the meds with something like used coffee grounds or used kitty litter. These substances should make the medications less appealing to people or pets. Place the mixture in a sealed bag to prevent leakage.
  • Scratch out prescription labels to protect your identity.
  • Don't flush medication down the sink or toilet.
  • Until the meds are disposed of properly, store them safely away from children and pets.
  • Check if any nearby hospitals, pharmacies or retailers are registered as collectors with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
  • Some towns offer medication take-back programs. Check with your local law enforcement agency.


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