What To Do With Expired or Unused Prescription Medicine

Practicing safe storage and disposal of prescription medication is key to keeping yourself and others safe. The abuse of prescription medication is a growing epidemic in America. We believe that it will never happen to us or under our roof. We keep our meds out of the reach of children, in our medicine cabinets, and we don’t leave bottles lying around where others have access to them. It’s a sad reality, but the vast majority of prescription medicine abuse, addiction, and overdose happens in the home.

Do You Need The Prescription Medicine

The first step to preventing prescription medicine abuse happens before your doctor even writes the prescription. Ask your doctor if you actually need the prescription (think antibiotics) or if there are other treatments or management techniques that you can use (think physical therapy and OTC medicines for pain management). Asking about alternative methods that can help you or improve the effectiveness of the prescription will benefit your health.

From treating the flu or nasty migraine to taking antibiotic for strep throat, there are times when we do need medicine. But we do with those expired or unused medicines that are sitting in our medicine cabinet?

3 Ways to Safely Dispose of Unused Medicine

  • Medicine Take-Back. There are many locations that you can now bring your unused or expired medicine to for safe disposal. Usually your doctor or pharmacist knows a location close to home that you can drop off your medicine. The office or drug store may even provide the service.
  • Flushing down the toilet. This is a safe option for some medicines. The FDA has guidelines for flushing medicine since certain medicines can contaminate the public water supply.
  • Put them in the trash. If medicine take-back isn’t an option and you can’t flush the medicine simply throw them away. We suggest placing the medicines in a dark plastic or paper bag before placing them in the trash so the medicine bottles aren’t visible.
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