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- What is the drug used for?
- How does the drug work?
- How should the drug be taken?
- What should you do if you miss a dose?
- What are the drug's side effects?
- What substances interact with the drug?
- What should you expect the drug to do?
- How should the drug be stored?
- How should unused drugs be disposed of?
- Should you use a generic version of the drug?
- What laboratory tests should be done to monitor the effects of the drug?
- Who is the drug manufacturer?
How should the drug be stored?
Most medications are stored at room temperature. However, some medications require special storage conditions in order to avoid premature deterioration of the drug. Look at the expiration dates written on the container and use the drug before the expiration date.
How should unused drugs be disposed of?
To safe guard the health of children, pets, and the environment; and to reduce drug abuse; drugs should be disposed of responsibly.
The FDA recommends the following for safe disposal of unused or expired medications:
- Follow specific recommendations for disposal instructions on the drug label or patient information packet provided with the medication.
- Do not flush drugs down the sink or toilet unless the packet information on the drug specifically instructs to do so.
- Check to see if your community has a drug take-back program that allows the public to bring unused drugs to a specific location for disposal.
- If you do not have access to a disposal program in your area to dispose
of unused drugs it is recommended you throw the drugs in the garbage after
taking the following steps:
- Remove the drugs from their original container and mix them with coffee grounds or kitty litter (this makes the drugs less appealing to pets, children, and people who intentionally dig through trash seeking drugs).
- Place the mixture in a sealable container, can, or bag to prevent leakage.
Additional tips include:
- Remove all identifying information on the prescription labels so they are unreadable. This helps protect your identify and personal health information.
- Do not give prescription medications to friends or family members. A medication that is effective for you, may be dangerous for someone else.
- Ask your health-care professional or pharmacist if you have any questions about proper disposal of unused or expired medicaitons.
- Disposal of prescription drug disposal methods can be applied to over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
- Inquire about any special instructions for disposing the unused or expired medications you have taken.
Quick GuidePrescription Drug Abuse: Know The Warning Signs
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.