Getting Rid of Old Medications

Getting Rid of Old Medications

Lee este articuloYou've probably heard that you're not supposed to pour old medications down the toilet or drain. That's because drugs can get into the water supply and cause problems for people and wildlife.

But you can't just toss medicines or unused prescriptions in the trash either. You don't want medications — and your private health information — to fall into the wrong hands.

Destroying old medications (like expired over-the-counter medicines or unused prescriptions) and then putting them in the trash is the way to go.

Here's how:

A few prescription medications need to be disposed of immediately after they are no longer needed. These should still be flushed down the toilet. If your prescription is one of these, the label or sticker on the container should say so.

Ask your pharmacist about National Prescription Take-Back Day. This program lets you bring unused medications to a place where they can be disposed of safely.

Reviewed by: Kate M. Cronan, MD
Date reviewed: March 2011

Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.

© 1995-2014 The Nemours Foundation/KidsHealth. All rights reserved.

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Related Resources
OrganizationU.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by ensuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation's food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation.
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