Monday, March 10, 2014

Protocol For Wrecking Medicines

Dispose of old medications properly.

Old prescription medications: you can't use them, but you shouldn't flush them, according to the Federal Drug Administration. The exception is medications whose manufacturers specifically instruct them to be flushed down a toilet. An estimated 250 million pounds of drugs are flushed per year, according to an Associated Press study in the Sept. 15, 2008 "USA Today." Flushing old medication has been common practice. However, trace amounts of pharmaceuticals have been found in the drinking water of 46 million Americans.

Seal and Discard

Discard the medication bottles.

Remove unneeded or expired prescription drugs from their original containers and throw away the packages, according to the Food and Drug Administration website on drug disposal. Then, put the drugs in water-proof bags and containers, and mix them with substances people or animals would not want to eat, such as coffee grounds, sawdust or cat litter. Seal the bags and throw them in your household trash.

Flush if Directed

Flush prescription medication down the toilet if the label or patient information advises it, according to the FDA. The manufacturer is the first place to go to for disposal information. The problem is that the manufacturer does not always indicate proper disposal methods. Follow FDA guidelines in those cases, or ask a doctor or pharmacist for disposal advice.

Take-back Programs

Ask you doctor if your community has a take-back program for unused medication. The programs are rare, but exist. One program in Daly City, California, south of San Francisco, started with re-furbished mailboxes to receive old medication from the public and, in 1 year, collected 2 tons of medication to be incinerated, according to a Sept. 15, 2008 "USA Today" story by Martha Mendoza of the Associated Press.

FDA Flush List

Flushing these medications immediately will keep children and pets safe, according to the FDA.

Actiq (fentanyl citrate)

Avinza, extended release capsules (morphine sulfate)

Daytrana transdermal patch (methylphenidate)

Demerol, tablets

Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel (Diazepam)

Duragestic transdermal system (fenanyl)

OxyContin tablets (oxycodone)

Avinza capsules (morphine sulfate)

Baraclude tablets (entecavir)

Reyataz capsules (atazanavir sulfate)

Tequin tablets (gatifloxacin)

Zerit for oral solution (stavudine)

Meperidine HCI tablets

Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen)

Xyrem (Sodium Oxybate)

Fentora (fentanyl buccal tablet)


The FDA guidelines are just suggestions, though individual states are working to create enforceable disposal rules, mainly for larger disposers, such as hospitals, nursing homes and long-term health facilities, according to the Associated Press.

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