How to Get Rid of Expired or Unused Medications

Whether you have leftover pain medications from spine surgery or unused antibiotics from your trip to the hospital for emergency care, how you get rid of those medications matters. Safe medication disposal prevents the drugs from being accidentally consumed by children and pets and keeps them out of the hands of people who may abuse them. If you have unused medications, here are some tips for disposing of them properly.

Medicine Take-Back Programs
The safest way to get rid of medicines is to turn them in to a medicine take-back program . To find a program in your area, ask your pharmacist or call your city’s trash and recycling service. You can also look for a take-back program near you online or call a poison control center. These services can take your medications off your hands and ensure they are disposed of in the right way, so you don’t have to worry about them being in your house any longer.

Household Trash
Most people think of tossing unused medicine in their trashcans, but doing so does carry some risk. Pets and children may be able to get into your trash and take the medicines. To reduce the risk of poisoning to your children and pets, mix your unused medicine to something that is not likely to get eaten, such as used coffee grounds, and then put the mixture in a sealed bag or container in your trashcan. If you are throwing away a pill bottle, be sure to scratch all of your personal information off of the label.

Flushing Down the Sink or Toilet
Some medicines are too dangerous to risk putting in the trash, such as pain patches and pills. For these medications, flushing them down the sink or toilet will get them out of our house right away and ensure that no one can take them accidentally or abuse them.

If you are unsure what to do with unused medications, ask your West Hills Hospital & Medical Center doctor for advice. Get answers to all of your questions about our hospital in West Hills and our comprehensive services, including cancer care and our burn center, by calling (818) 676-4321.

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