Unwanted Medicines Disposal

Make sure you read the instruction leaflet

Different medicines need to be stored in different ways, for example some prescription medicines need to be kept in a refrigerator. It’s important to make sure you check the instructions that come with the medication box for advice on where the medicines should be stored. Also, always keep your medicines with the packet and instructions so you can refer back to them easily.

Don’t keep medicines in the bathroom

A popular place to store medicines is in the bathroom, however this isn’t the best environment for most medications. Many will need to be kept in a cool, dark and dry place. Bathrooms can have high levels of heat and moisture which can cause damage to the medicines or packaging.

Keep out of reach of children and pets

It’s important to keep your medicines out of the way and reach of children and pets, even if the medicine is meant for them. For example, a high, lockable cupboard in a cool, dry place is ideal to store your medicines in.

Check expiry dates

Always check the expiry date on medicines both over the counter and prescription medication. Many medicines become ineffective when they pass their expiry date which can be a risk to your health. They could also do harm if they are taken by someone they were not intended for.

Try to clear out your medicine cabinet every six months

It is best to check your medicine supplies at least every six months to ensure that you only store those that are in date and still needed, particularly if you take regular prescription or multiple medicines. Plus, remember to check the dates on medicines you’ve bought like paracetamol or cold and flu relief.

How to safely dispose of your medication

Don’t throw your meds in the bin, down the sink or toilet

Throwing medicines away incorrectly such as in the bin could lead to them being found by children or those that they are not intended for. Flushing meds or pouring them down the sink also poses risks to the environment.

Take old or unwanted meds to pharmacy

Once you’ve got your medicines stored correctly you’ll see which medicines are no longer needed, out of date or damaged should be taken to your local pharmacy where they can be disposed of safely.
Remember that inhalers should also be returned for safe disposal rather than going into household waste.