Proper Disposal of Unused Medications
As our sites know, patients' medicine cabinets can fill with unused and unwanted medications. These medications pose a risk to all individuals who have access. The FDA recently published an article composed of the steps to properly dispose of unused medications. As your partner, we understand the vital need to properly educate patients on these steps to make sure medications are disposed of safely.
How to Educate Patients of Ways to Safely Dispose of Unused Medications at Home
First, encourage the use of community drug take-back programs that allow the public to bring unused drugs to a central location for proper disposal. Your local city or county government can be contacted to see if a take-back program is available in your area. Many pharmacies are beginning to stock drug take back receptacles for their patients to return unused medications as well.
Next, remind patients to follow any specific disposal instructions on the prescription label that accompanies the medication. Medications do not need to be flushed down the sink or toilet unless the label specifically states to do so.1 In fact, most medications can be thrown in the trash.
If specific disposal instructions or a local take-back day are not available, have patients follow the steps below to dispose of medication in the trash:1,2
1. Remove from original container & place in a sealable bag.
2. Add undesirable substance to bag such as used coffee grounds, saw dust, or kitty litter.
3. Seal plastic bag and dispose of it in the trash.
4. Before throwing away medicine bottle, scratch out all identifying information on Rx label.
What to Do with Unused Dispensary of Hope Medications at Your Pharmacy or Clinic?
As a reminder, we want to highlight the best practice for destroying unused Dispensary of Hope medication. Be sure to use a separate bag or box and document "not for credit" when returning outdated medications to your destruction company or reverse distributor. Alerting your destruction company's representative that your Dispensary of Hope inventory cannot be returned for credit is also highly recommended. Don't forget that Dispensary of Hope stickers indicating "Not for Credit" are available for you to order in eHope. As always, follow your site's specific procedures regarding medication disposal with your designated reverse distributor.
*Thank you to Katlyn Martin, PharmD Candidate, for her research and this article.