Safely Dispose of Medications with These Five Tips

happy senior lady-researching medications

Advanced Home Health Care provides tips on how to safely dispose of medications.

With many aging parents taking many different prescriptions, and with health care professionals changing and adding dosages and medications to discover just the right solutions, it’s important to know what to do with prescription drugs that are no longer needed or that have expired. There are a number of options to safely dispose of medications:

  1. Check labels. The prescription’s label or informational literature may provide instruction on how to properly dispose of the drug. You can even ask the pharmacist for suggestions.
  2. Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is the recommended way to safely dispose of medications, and it is held once a year in locations throughout the country by the United States Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Find the location nearest to you plus the next date for the local event.
  3. Use care prior to flushing prescriptions down the toilet. Flushing prescription medications down the toilet is normally not advised, but there are specific exceptions, discussed in the FDA’s Flush List. Medications currently deemed acceptable to flush include:
    • Acetaminophen
    • Benzhydrocodone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Diazepam
    • Fentanyl
    • Hydrocodone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Meperidine
    • Methadone
    • Methylphenidate
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone
    • Oxymorphone
    • Sodium Oxybate
    • Tapentadol
  • Camouflage when disposing. Many prescription medications can be discarded with regular trash, if guidelines are followed to prevent animals from accidentally ingesting them or from anyone seeking drugs to uncover and take them. The FDA suggests combining the meds with an undesirable substance – such as kitty litter or coffee grounds – and then putting in a secured plastic bag prior to adding to your household trash bag.
  • Take off identifying information. Be sure to scratch out and/or shred any personal information to protect the senior’s identity in order to protect against someone who is unauthorized from finding the prescription container and acquiring a refill of the prescribed medication.

To obtain more assistance with medications, including medication reminders to ensure seniors take prescription medications exactly as advised by the medical professional, connect with the aging care experts at Advanced Home Health Care. We are also here to help with a variety of aging care needs in the home that improve total wellbeing for senior loved ones, such as:

Contact us online or give us a call at 800.791.7785 or 319.753.6270 in Burlington and 319.524.2144 in Keokuk to let us know more about the challenges a loved one is facing. We’re happy to schedule a complimentary in-home assessment to share more about our home and rehabilitation services in Mount Pleasant, IA and throughout the nearby areas.

The Care You Need. The Quality You Deserve.