Pharmacology Book


Prescription Safety

Aka: Prescription Safety, Medication Disposal, Drug Disposal, Controlled Substance Disposals
  1. Precautions: Controlled substance storage
    1. Prescription Opioids should be in locked cabinet, away from children in the home
    2. Opioids are a risk for unintentional Overdose and Substance Abuse by teens and children
      1. Opiates are the most common ingestion requiring hospitalization in children under age 6 years old
    3. Safe storage guideline is followed in only one third of households with young children (12% with older children)
      1. McDonald (2017) Pediatrics 139(3) +PMID:28219969 [PubMed]
  2. Precautions: Medication Disposal
    1. Do not flush medications down toilet
      1. Controlled substances are an exception (see below)
      2. Dispose of non-controlled substances in the trash
    2. Adverse effects of medications contaminating waste water
      1. May have toxic effect on wildlife and humans
      2. May contribute to Antibiotic Resistance
    3. Resources
      1. EPA Information on Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products
  3. Precautions: Unused Controlled Substance disposal
    1. Only case in which Flushing medication down toilet may be appropriate (other options below are preferred)
    2. Collection receptacles at retail pharmacies
      1. Syringes and Inhalers are not allowed in disposal bins
    3. Dispose with medical waste at clinic
    4. DEA take-back program
      2. Law enforcement stations may also have Medication Disposal receptacles
    5. Mail-back programs
      1. Pharmacies may have pre-addressed, pre-paid packaging available
  4. References
    1. (2014) Presc Lett 21(11): 65

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