A solid solution
Clean out your medicine cabinet now and get rid of unused prescriptions
The reasons for removing expired or otherwise unused prescription medication from the home are clear. Leftover medications present a risk of accidental ingestion by children and adults alike. Medication left sitting around continues to present an opportunity for abuse, either by the patient who was prescribed the medication or someone else in the home. Proper disposal is particularly urgent for unused opioids, which can be especially dangerous. An estimated 2 million people misused this class of prescription medication in 2015.
Considering the potency and addictive properties of many medications, there’s no time to waste in disposing of those you are no longer using. Many municipalities offer take-back programs that will dispose of your medications free of charge.
If your medication doesn’t include disposal instructions and a take-back program is not an option, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends flushing some opioids down the toilet as a last resort, as even one dose can be fatal to someone who hasn’t been prescribed the medication. For most other prescriptions, the FDA recommends the following to get rid of unused prescriptions:
Step 1 Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter or used coffee grounds
Step 2 Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
Step 3 Throw the container in your household trash
Step 4 Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container
Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration at FDA.gov
A list of drugs the FDA recommends be flushed immediately after the prescription period ends can be found here.
To learn more about your specific medication or locations for drug take-back programs, visit the FDA’s website at www.fda.gov/drugs.
Walmart and Sam’s Club offer innovative solution to home drug disposal
A new product available at Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies will make disposing of unused opioids simple without costing customers anything but a few moments of their time.
DisposeRx™ is now being distributed at no cost with all opioid prescriptions. If the patient has any pills remaining at the end of their prescription period, they simply pour the DisposeRx powder into the pill bottle and add hot water until 2/3 full, then cover and shake for 30 seconds. The powder reacts with the water, making a solid solution that renders the medication unusable. The entire process takes about 10 minutes.
Once solidified, the prescription bottle can then be thrown away, although identifying information should still be scratched off the bottle.
With each opioid prescription, a Pharmacist will provide a unit of DisposeRx and a consultation about its use and the importance of disposing of opioids.