October 22, 2020

Senior woman holding pills and reading the information on the label

It’s important to dispose of unwanted or expired senior medicine properly.

With many aging parents taking numerous prescriptions, and with health care professionals changing and adding medications and dosages to discover just the right solutions, it’s critical to know what to do with senior medicine that is no longer needed or that has expired. There are several options:

  • Check labels. The prescription’s label or informational literature may provide instructions about how to properly dispose of the drug. You may also consult the pharmacist for recommendations.
  • Participate in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. This is the recommended technique to properly discard of unwanted senior medicine, and is organized yearly in locations throughout the country by the U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. Find the venue closest to you along with the next date for the event.
  • Use caution prior to flushing medication down the toilet. Flushing prescription drugs down the toilet is usually not advised, but there are certain exceptions, outlined in the FDA’s Flush List. Medications currently considered acceptable to flush include:
    • Acetaminophen
    • Benzhydrocodone
    • Buprenorphine
    • Diazepam
    • Fentanyl
    • Hydrocodone
    • Hydromorphone
    • Meperidine
    • Methadone
    • Methylphenidate
    • Morphine
    • Oxycodone
    • Oxymorphone
    • Sodium Oxybate
    • Tapentadol
  • Disguise when discarding. Many medicines can be thrown away with normal garbage, if safeguards are taken to restrict animals from unintentionally ingesting them or from anyone looking for drugs to uncover and take them. The FDA proposes mixing the medications with an undesirable substance – such as coffee grounds or kitty litter – and then putting in a sealed plastic bag prior to adding to your household garbage bag.
  • Take off identifying information. Make certain to scratch out and/or shred any personal information to protect the senior’s identification and to keep anyone who is unauthorized from locating the medicine container and getting a refill of the medication.

For more assistance with medications, including medication reminders to make sure senior loved ones take prescription medications just as directed by the medical professional, contact the aging care professionals at Continuum, meeting the care needs of seniors and those with Alzheimer’s in St. Louis and surrounding areas. We are also available to help with a wide selection of aging care needs at home that improve quality of life for seniors, including:

  • Help with personal care and hygiene needs
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Light housecleaning
  • Companionship to engage in conversations and enjoyable activities
  • Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments and outings
  • Running errands, such as picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • And much more

Give us a call at (314) 863-9912 to let us know more about the challenges a loved one is facing, and to request a complimentary in-home consultation to allow us to share how we can help.