Almost all of us have benefited from medicine, whether purchased over-the-counter or prescribed from a health care provider. In fact, more than 60% of adults take a prescription medication daily, according to a recent poll.1
Why Shouldn't You Keep Old Medications
It’s ALWAYS best to take medications as directed and address any questions to your pharmacist or doctor. It’s also important not to keep old medications in your medicine cabinet for some important reasons:
- Misuse of medications can lead to negative or even dangerous outcomes.
- Children or pets can accidentally ingest medications.
- Drug resistant infections can result from misusing medications.
- Abuse or theft of excess or unneeded medications can have serious consequences.
- Leftover narcotics pose a risk of abuse and addiction.
- Toxicity makes expired medications dangerous if misused.
- Tetracycline, an antibiotic, can cause serious kidney damage after it expires.
- Epinephrine is no longer effective after it expires and can also break down and become poisonous.
How to Safely Dispose of Old Medications
If you have old prescription bottles or expired over-the-counter medications cluttering your medicine cabinet, you’re not alone. But how to dispose of them safely?
You might have heard that throwing away medications can result in pharmaceuticals getting into the environment. You also may have been told that some medications should be flushed down the toilet. In fact, the FDA has a Flush List2 of medications that should be flushed because they pose a high risk of death if improperly taken.
The good news is there’s an easy, safe way to dispose of your unneeded or expired medications. Recognizing the problem of proper disposal of unwanted or excess medication, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) launched the National Prescription Take Back Day in 2010. This program is designed to provide a place to drop off medication for safe disposal, free of charge and with no questions asked.
EVERY day is Take Back Day in Nebraska!
The State of Nebraska instituted a program called Nebraska MEDS Drug Disposal that allows for drop off of unwanted medications at participating pharmacies anytime.
ALL CHI Health Clinic Pharmacies participate in this program as part of our mission to keep patients safe and avoid negative outcomes. Please visit any of our 14 locations and talk with our pharmacy staff for more information!