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"Take-back" Drug Programs May Be Unnecessary, Study Says


  12:16:34 pm, by MedBen5   , 226 words,  
Categories: News, Prescription

"Take-back" Drug Programs May Be Unnecessary, Study Says

Many communities offer prescription drug “take-back” programs to safely dispose of unused medicines. But a new study suggests that properly tossing the old drugs in the trash is just as effective.

According to WebMD, researchers used a complicated methodology called “comparative life cycle assessment” to estimate the environmental impact of flushing, incinerating, and trashing old medications. They found little difference between burning the drugs – which is what most take-back programs do – and having them end up in the landfill.

Steven J. Skerlos, PhD of the University of Michigan told WebMD that these programs may actually be worse for the environment than throwing drugs in the trash due to the greenhouse gases produced by transporting and burning the medications.

If there are no disposal instructions given on the drug label or patient information sheet, the FDA recommends throwing away some prescriptions by:

  • First mixing them with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds,
  • Placing the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag,
  • And disposing of the bag with other household wastes.

One major exception: expecially harmful medications, including pain relievers and other drugs that are widely abused, like methadone, morphine, OxyContin, and Percocet. These should should be flushed down the toilet or sink to eliminate any chance that a child or pet will find them, the FDA says.

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