Tips for safe disposal of pharmaceuticals at home
The following guidelines are recommended by the Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) for disposal of medications.
- Take unused, unneeded, or expired prescription drugs out of their original containers and throw them in the trash.
- Mixing prescription drugs with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter, and putting them in impermeable, non-descript containers, such as empty cans or sealable bags, will further ensure the drugs are not diverted.
- Flush prescription drugs down the toilet only if the label or accompanying patient information specifically instructs doing so.
- Take advantage of community pharmaceutical take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Some communities have pharmaceutical take-back programs or community solid-waste programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Where these exist, they are a good way to dispose of unused pharmaceuticals.
The FDA advises that the following drugs be flushed down the toilet instead of thrown in the trash:
- Actiq (fentanyl citrate);
- Daytrana transdermal patch (methylphenidate);
- Duragesic transdermal system (fentanyl);
- OxyContin tablets (oxycodone);
- Avinza capsules (morphine sulfate);
- Baraclude tablets (entecavir);
- Reyataz capsules (atazanavir sulfate);
- Tequin tablets (gatifloxacin);
- Zerit for oral solution (stavudine);
- Meperidine HCl tablets;
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen);
- Xyrem (sodium oxybate);
- Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet).