What To Do With Expired Medications and Supplements
Orders for in-stock items ship the same or next business day. Orders for in-stock items ship the same or next business day.

Expired Medication & Supplements – New Year Clean Sweep

expired medication in a cabinet

While the science suggests that setting a multitude of New Year’s resolutions isn’t honestly a great idea and that we do much better if we focus on one goal at a time, many of us continue to view New Year’s as an overall fresh start. Re-focusing on healthy eating means clearing the cabinets and cupboards of leftover contraband from the holidays, and while you’re at it, checking expiration dates on all pantry items as well as all the condiments that have accumulated in the refrigerator. After making a clean sweep through the kitchen, it only makes sense to continue to the bathroom cabinets, another key area in our home with lots of items with “best used by” dates. Many of us hold on to expired medication that needs to be disposed of properly.

Do Medications and Supplements Expire?

Prescription medications and over-the-counter medications, including vitamins and other dietary supplements, all have expiration/best-used-by dates. Prescription medications typically have a one-year shelf life, while vitamins and supplements have a two-year shelf life.

To dispose of supplements and medications that have expired or are no longer needed, many cities have hazardous waste collection sites that will take these items. The U.S. Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) schedules the next National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. During this event, expired medications can be dropped off at collection sites for free.

If waiting seems too far away, pharmacy chain CVS has partnered with Sharps Compliance Corporation, a company that handles medical waste, and all of their pharmacies have medication disposal envelopes that can be used to send expired medications directly to Sharps for disposal. (The postage-paid envelopes are $3.99 each.)

How to Dispose of Expired Medications Yourself:

If you elect to dispose of unused medications in your trash, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offers these guidelines for handling them:

  • Take the pills out of their original containers.
  • Mix the pills with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or cat litter, to make the pills less attractive to children or pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through your trash.
  • Put the mixture in a sealed container or bag to prevent the pills from leaking or breaking out of a garbage bag.
  • These products should not be burned, so those in rural areas with burn barrels should not put these items in the burn barrel.

Remember These Tips When Throwing Away Expired Medication:

The Office of National Drug Control Policy recommends that before disposing of prescription medication bottles, the label either be removed or covered with a permanent marker or duct tape to prevent re-ordering by someone else.

Recommended storage instructions are noted on vitamin and supplement bottles and on the insert that accompanies prescription medications. As a general rule, products should be stored at room temperature, away from both excessive light and humidity.

Shop Vitamins

Take The Quiz

By Jill Turner

Printed from: https://coopercomplete.com/blog/expired-medication-clean-sweep/