As an integrative medicine clinic, First Health’s goal is to treat your medical condition without the use of prescription drugs. In fact, three of our four disciplines — Acupuncture/TCM, Behavioral Health, and Chiropractic — provide non-prescription based healthcare.
However, in some cases, our medical physician Dr. Jason Gruss, FAAPM&R, needs to prescribe pharmaceuticals. Once a condition is resolved, it is important to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs. The start of a new year is the ideal for getting rid of old prescription medications that are outdated, expired and no longer needed. Not only will it better organize your medicine cabinet, it reduces the chance that those unused medications become a problem for someone else to get their hands on. Prescription medications that are expired have passed their half-life toward decay. This makes them ineffective and even dangerous as the chemical composition changes over time.
To find out whether or not a medicine is safe to flush down the toilet, check the label or information leaflet that came with the medication. You can also check the website of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a list of medicines to be disposed of by flushing down the sink or toilet.
GETTING RID OF OLD PRESCRIPTION MEDICATIONS
When disposing of over-the-counter or prescription medications in your home trash can, follow these steps:
- Take the drugs out of their original containers and mix them in with something unpleasant. Try cat litter or coffee grounds, etc. That will deter children or pets from recognizing or coming across them.
- Take that mixture and put it in something you can seal so that it doesn’t leak when in the trash.
- Before throwing away old, empty packing or bottles, scratch out, tear or cut out all identifying personal information. Be sure to remove the pharmacy and prescription numbers for protection from identity theft.
- When disposing of transdermal patches containing nicotine, fentanyl and other controlled substances, remember that even after a patch is used, it still contains a lot of the medicinal chemicals. Follow disposal instructions that came with the medication to ensure it isn’t a hazard for others.
DRUG TAKE BACK PROGRAM
Check with your local pharmacy about whether they have a mail-back program or disposable kiosks for getting rid of old prescription medications. Many communities also have a drug take-back program, so check with your local police department to find a drop-off location or DEA-authorized collector near you.
Since 1981, First Health Associates has been providing exceptional health care to residents of Arlington Heights, Mt. Prospect, Schaumburg, Buffalo Grove, Rolling Meadows, Palatine, Elk Grove and Des Plaines. First Health is an integrative medicine practice that offers: Medical Care; Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine; Counseling and Behavioral Therapy; and Chiropractic Care.
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