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Our family medicine cabinet is filled with old medicines. How do I get rid of them safely?

Our family medicine cabinet is filled with old medicines. How do I get rid of them safely?

You’re right to be concerned about this. It’s important to get rid of medicine that has expired and to dispose of it properly. The first step is to check the expiry dates of all medicine bottles and containers in the cabinet and around your home.

Dispose of pills and tablets by wrapping them tightly in newspaper and binding with tape so they are completely concealed and difficult to get into. This is to make it very hard for kids and animals to access them. Then throw the pills in the trash. Liquid medicines should be mixed with kitty litter so they are transformed into solid material that can be discarded in the same way as the pills.

Never pour old medications down a sink drain or flush down a toilet because traces of these drugs could end up in the water supply.

Meanwhile, it’s important to be aware that some medications can become ineffective before an expiry date if they are not stored properly. For instance, aspirin is particularly likely to lose its potency if moisture gets into the container and makes contact with the medication. Keep aspirin in a dry place (not the steamy bathroom) and make sure the cap on the bottle is always tightly closed.