According to the FDA, "Medicines play an important role in treating many conditions and diseases, but when they are no longer needed it's important to dispose of them properly to avoid harm to others." Patients have a few options for the proper disposal of medications.

Medication Take-Back Programs

Medications take back programs offer an opportunity for patients to turn in unused or expired medications at a specified location within the community. It may be possible to contact the local governments waste handling service to determine if a take back program is available.

Disposal in Household Trash

The FDA recommends the following steps for disposal of medications in household trash if a take-back program is not available to you:

  • Mix medicines with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds (do NOT crush tablets or capsules)
  • Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
  • Throw the container in your household trash
  • Scratch out all information on the prescription label to make it unreadable and then throw out the empty pill bottle or other empty medicine packaging 

Disposal of Controlled Substances or Oncology Medications

The disposal of controlled substances or Oncology Medications may have special requirements. Please contact the pharmacy for instructions on the disposal of these medications.

For more information, please read Disposal of Unused Medicines: What You Should Know from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).