Be well: Spring-clean your medicine cabinet to remove expired drugs

Spring is the prime season to declutter closets, kitchens and garages — but don’t forget to add an annual medicine overhaul to your cleaning list.

Christina Aungst, PharmD, pharmacy editor at GoodRx, based in Jefferson, Massachusetts, told Fox News Digital in an email.

“That’s why it’s a good idea to check your medicine cabinet regularly to make sure the drugs you have on hand are ready when you need them.”

Dr. Aungst recommends reviewing your medication at a specific time each year. B. Spring cleaning time.

Clear out unneeded or outdated meds while disposing of properly

Medicines that are no longer needed or that have passed their expiration date should be set aside for disposal.

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“Expiration dates help consumers understand how long a drug is guaranteed to work properly and safely.

“From that point onwards, some medicines become susceptible to bacterial contamination and others lose their effectiveness. This is especially dangerous if the medicine is intended to treat or prevent a serious illness.” .”

Any medications that are no longer needed or have passed their expiration dates should be disposed of properly, a pharmacist told Fox News Digital. That means taking them to a “medication take-back location.” (iStock)

For example, taking expired insulin can make it less effective and have a negative impact on blood sugar levels, the doctor warned

Search for proper medication disposal sites near you

Dr. Aungst said the best way to get rid of expired or unwanted medications is to take them to a “medication take-back location.”

These locations, typically found in pharmacies and hospitals, will safely destroy all medication donated to them,” she explained.

Use caution with ‘sharps’ and old inhalers

“Remove all identifiable information from drug labels before dispensing,” says one expert. (iStock)

“Please remove all identifiable information from the drug label before dispensing.”

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) US site allows you to enter a zip code or city/state to find the nearest public controlled substance disposal facility.
Check FDA Flash List
Some drugs, such as those that are in high demand because of their “abuse potential” and those that can be life-threatening to children, pets, or adults, can be washed out to prevent accidental ingestion. The FDA says some drugs should be flushed down the toilet to prevent accidental ingestion. But before doing so, check the list of flushable medications. (iStock)

The FDA has a complete list of flushable drugs (mostly opioid-containing drugs) on its website.
Find a Drug Donation Center
Some states have community drug storage programs that collect unused drugs and donate them to those in need.

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“The best thing to do is contact your state pharmacy board directly to find out which storage locations accept medicines from individuals,” he says.

“Many states only accept donations from medical institutions.”

Be careful with “sharp” and old inhalers
Dr. Angust says it’s important to take special precautions with old “sharps” (needles used for injections) and inhalers. has an online map with state-by-state sharps disposal instructions and a zip code lookup for disposal locations. (iStock)

“Used needles and inhalers are dangerous. Don’t throw them in the trash or flush them down the toilet unprotected,” she said.

“Proper disposal recommendations vary by state, but online resources can help you understand and follow state regulations.”

Click here to subscribe to our health newsletter has an online map with state-by-state sharps disposal instructions and a zip code lookup for disposal locations.

Some expired medicines become contaminated or lose their potency.
Please note that for inhalers, Dr. your local waste and recycling facility can provide recommendations for proper disposal. Some Walgreens pharmacies also accept older inhalers.
keep leftovers safe
After removing unnecessary or expired medications, store remaining medications in a cool, dry place out of reach of children and pets.


“This helps prevent damage that could shorten the drug’s shelf life and prevents accidental ingestion. Angust
Click here to read more articles in Fox News Digital’s Be Well series.
Melissa Rudy is Fox News Digital’s health her editor and a member of her lifestyle team.

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