For a variety of reasons, you may have unused or out of date medicines that you no longer need. Therefore, you will need to get rid of them.

While it can be tempting just to discard of them in the household bin, there are better and safer ways of going about this, as this article shows.

Taking medicines to a pharmacy is a great way of disposing of them

What should you do with unused medicines?

Sometimes, medicines get misplaced or you may stop taking them. This may create a scenario where you need to get rid of your medicine. If this does happen, then certain steps are advisable.

The best thing to do with unused or outdated medicine is to take them to your nearest pharmacy and request that they get rid of them for you.

Pharmacies will have special bins for disposing of medicine. Pharmacies commonly have medicines that become out of date, so they are used to disposing of medicines.

This is the same case whether it is tablets, capsules, liquids or anything else – you should take them to a local pharmacy.

The pharmacy will then destroy the medicines safely. This is also the most environmentally-friendly approach to getting rid of medicine.

What you shouldn’t do…

You should definitely not flush any unused medicines or liquids down the toilet. These can clog up drains and end up causing issues at sewer plants.

Moreover, there is also the risk that if not disposed of correctly, children could manage to consume the medicine. This poses serious risks to children.

Things to consider

To try and avoid this, you should ensure that you only get the medicine you need. For example, if you have a repeat prescription, you should only order what you need.

If you decide to stop taking a medicine (which you should only do in conjunction with a doctor’s approval), you should inform the prescriber, so that extra medicine is not ordered.

Also, if you have a surplus of medication, ensure that you always use the oldest first – to minimise the chances of anything going out of date and therefore needing to be disposed of.


Most people will not need to ever throw away medicine – but sometimes it will be necessary. If it ever is, then you have this information to know what to do.

By disposing of the medicine in a safe and environmentally-friendly way, this can ensure any problems are minimised.

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