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Q: What should I do with leftover medications?

Posted January 16, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: Many people have unwanted prescription medications in their medicine cabinet. Disposal of these medications is recommended when one or more of the following are true: your doctor told you to stop taking the medication, a year has passed since you got the medication filled at the pharmacy or the expiration date on the medication has passed.

Many local pharmacies, including the Ankeny Medicap Pharmacy, participate in a state program known as TakeAway. The purpose of this program is to remove unwanted and expired prescriptions from medicine cabinets by disposing of them properly. Two positive benefits result: prevention of prescription drug misuse/abuse, and the medications do not contaminate the water supply.

The following categories of medications can be disposed of: pills, tablets, capsules, ointments, creams, lotions, powders, inhalers, nebulizer solutions and liquid medications four ounces or less. The following are not accepted by the TakeAway program: controlled medications (Adderall, Vicodin, hydrocodone, Ambien, etc.), sharps (lancets, syringes) and liquids greater than four ounces.

The best way to dispose of controlled medications is to crush the medication, dissolve in water, mix with catbox filler or coffee grounds and throw in the trash. Disposing of controlled medications when they are no longer needed is very important. You should not “save them for later” in order to prevent the medications from falling into the wrong hands and/or being abused by friends or family members.

Information provided by Jennifer Meurer, PharmD., Medicap Pharmacy, 107 N.E. Delaware, Suite 6, 964-8550.

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