Published By: Ishani Karmakar

What To Do With Leftover Or Expired Medications

The medicine cabinets in most homes are overflowing with pills, some of which have been abandoned or forgotten. These drugs are either unnecessary or have beyond their use-by date. 

The improper disposal of such medications risks human health and the natural environment. Prescription medications that have expired or are no longer needed should not be thrown out in the garbage, where they might be readily reclaimed for illicit use or resold, increasing the risk of accidental poisoning, overdose, and misuse. These medicines can be just as harmful as illicit drugs without a prescription or immediate medical care. Your health and the health of those around you depend on the proper disposal of unused or expired medications.

Why Drugs Must Be Disposed Of Properly

Mixing with the Water Supply and Natural Environment

If you flush something down the toilet, it will end up in the water system, including medicines. Water treatment processes eliminate contaminants before reintroducing them to the public water supply, but they do not target medicines. These chemicals pollute the water supply and the ground itself. Our potable and domestic water source is a natural component of this ecosystem. We can do little to prevent the pharmaceuticals we consume from entering the waste stream as a by-product of standard metabolic processing and elimination. However, if the original medications are correctly disposed of, they won't end up in the environment.

Waste Management for Medications that Have Expired

Drugs Land in the Wrong Hands

It's no secret that drug misuse is pervasive across society. A teenager who takes things could use them for himself, whereas a child who puts everything in her mouth might be the victim. The potential for medicines to fall into the wrong hand's increases if we don't properly dispose of them.

Problems with Using Incorrect or Expired Medicines

It is simple for a sick, confused, or visually impaired person to accidentally take the wrong medication because of poorly labelled or expired medication. These issues can be avoided by adequately discarding medications as they near or reach their expiration dates. Patients are more likely to take the correct medication if it is clearly labelled with a large, readable type.

Put your medications away

Proper medication storage helps keep medications effective and reduces the risk of accidental poisoning. Keep any medication out of sight and reach of children and put them in a locked cabinet or on a high shelf. Please do not take a chance with a drug that has beyond its expiry date.

When and How to Throw Away Medications at Home?

The following guidelines are recommended by the well-respected U.S. Food and Drug Administration for discarding medications:

Throwing away prescription drugs

Pills, liquids, drops, patches, creams, and inhalers, both prescription and OTC, can be disposed of in the garbage.

Please proceed as follows

The medicines should be taken out of their packaging and mixed with something unappealing, like discarded coffee grounds or dirt, so that it is less tempting to youngsters and dogs and unidentifiable to anyone searching through garbage.