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Chrissie Cole
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New Drug Disposal Guide Issued By FDA

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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued new consumer guidelines for disposing expired and unused medications that pose a danger to others.

Most leftover medications can be mixed with something unpalatable such as coffee grounds or cat litter, sealed in a container and thrown away in household trash.

However, certain medicines may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal if taken by someone other than the person they were prescribed for. For this reason, the agency recommends that few medicines should be flushed down the sink or toilet. The FDA Web site has the full list of flushable medications.

The agency also recommends drug take-back programs – available through municipal trash disposal agencies in several areas – as an alternative. A summary of drug removal procedures can be found on the NIH’s DailyMed Web site.

Drug disposal guidelines were first issued by the FDA and Office of National Drug Control Policy in 2007.

In April, twenty-two compounds that the EPA monitors as industrial chemicals and the FDA classifies as pharmaceutical ingredients, were found in waterways, according to the AP.

While most cities and water providers still do not test for drugs in water, some experts say pharma-tainted water will be found wherever researchers test.