What do I do with leftover medications?
Many customers have questions about safe medication disposal. We always caution patients to follow their doctor’s directions closely when taking medications. If there is leftover medicine after you’ve finished the prescribed dosage, contact your doctor to find out what to do. For safe disposal of leftover medication, we suggest the following guidelines:
Guidelines for Medication Disposal
- Go to the FDA website to learn about proper disposal of brand name or generic medications. You can read the FDA guidelines for medicine disposal or check the dates for an upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day.
- The DEA also provides information on medication disposal, specifically geared to controlled substances.
- Contact your state health department to find out the guidelines for medications disposal in your local area.
- Return any leftover medications to your local pharmacy. Most national and regional chain pharmacies will accept leftover medicines. These stores have the systems in place to dispose of them correctly and safely. Check with your local pharmacy to find out how to dispose of your medications with their assistance.
- Leave leftover medications, especially controlled substances, in drawers or medicine cabinets. Every year, Poison Control reports tens of thousands of cases of poisoning due to inadvertent exposure to medicines, many of them occurring in young children.
- Keep leftover medications once you are finished with the dose prescribed by your doctor. Easy access to prescriptions that belong to someone else has been identified as a potential factor in the beginnings of opioid addiction. Safety is our priority!
Medication Disposal: Essential to Safety
Don’t risk the health and safety of your loved ones. Safe medication disposal helps keep prescription medicines from falling into the wrong hands. By following the guidelines set by the FDA, you can be sure to dispose of your unused medications properly.