Drug Disposal 101 Tip Sheet

Tips and tricks for clearing out your medicine cabinet.

You should clean out your bathroom medicine cabinet every year. Check for expired medications and dispose of them properly. Getting rid of old drugs is important because over time, they lose their effectiveness and, in rare cases, can cause harm.

Best Practice

Follow these tips to discard expired drugs safely:

  1. In general, do not flush medications. Doing so can be harmful to the environment. There arc some exceptions to this rule, so check with your pharmacist or review “How to dispose of unused medicines,” which is available on FDA Drugs page.
  2. Look for an expiration date on the bottle to determine if it is expired. If the medication does not have an expiration date, its best to throw it away unless you remember purchasing it within the last year.
  3. For both solid and liquid medications, follow these steps for disposal:
    • Crush and dissolve in water.
    • Mix with a material that will absorb the liquid (such as sawdust or cat litter).
    • Place it in a sealed plastic bag before placing in the trash.
  4. Does the bottle show your name or date of birth? Remove and destroy any personal information.
  5. Look for state and local collection programs to take your unused medications, or look for a hazardous waste facility in your area. Your local pharmacist may also be able to help you.

Web Source: Medical Mutual of Ohio