Getting Rid of Old Medicines

Getting Rid of Old Medicines

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

But you can't just toss containers of pills and capsules into the trash either. They might fall into the wrong hands — along with your private health information (if it's a prescription). Or kids or pets might find them and mistake them for treats.

So what should you do? Destroy old medicines before putting them in the trash.

Here's how:

A few prescription medications need to be disposed of right away when 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.

If you have a lot of old medicines, or questions about getting rid of medicines, talk to your pharmacist.

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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