Medicaton Safety

Do you want to get rid of unused over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drugs? You can throw many drugs in the trash. There are a few exceptions. Some drugs require safe disposal.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created a set of guidelines. Read it to learn how to throw away unused prescription drugs.

These tips will also help:

  • Scratch out all info on the drug label. This will keep your personal health information and identity safe.
  • Follow disposal guidelines on the drug label. You can also find directions on the patient info that came with your prescription.
  • Find a community drug take-back program. This service lets you bring drugs to a central place for safe disposal. Call your city or town’s trash and recycling service to see if your area has a take-back program.
  • If there are no guidelines on the drug label or patient info, and no take-back program is available, throw the drugs in the trash, but first:
    • Take the drugs out of the bottle. Mix them with coffee grounds or cat litter. The drugs will be less tempting to children, pets or people who go through your trash.  
    • Put the drugs in a bag, empty can or other container that seals to keep them from falling out of a trash bag.

If you have questions or would like more info on how to dispose of prescription drugs, visit your local pharmacy or call the FDA at 888.463.6332. The FDA is open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.