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Prescription Medicines

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Getting Rid of Old or Unwanted Medicine

No matter what type of medicine you take, make sure to follow your doctor's advice about how to take it. And find out the safest way to throw away medicines that are expired or no longer used. Use these drug disposal tips to help prevent people and animals from taking medicines that aren't intended for them:

  1. Find out if your local trash and recycle center, pharmacy, or hospital offers a medicine take-back program or a place to drop off medicine. Ask your pharmacist if he or she knows of one. These are two of the best ways to safely throw away medicines.
  2. If there is not a take-back program or drop-off box near you, follow these steps to throw away medicine with the rest of your garbage:
    • Mix medicine with a substance that doesn't taste good, such as cat litter, sawdust, or coffee grounds. Do not crush tablets or capsules.
    • Place the mixture in a container, such as a sealed plastic bag.
    • Put the container in your household trash.

Only a few medicines should be flushed down the sink or toilet if you can't use a take-back program or drop-off box. To see a list from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, go to

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Peppermint oil is derived from the peppermint plant -- a cross between water mint and spearmint -- that thrives in Europe and North America. Peppermint oil is commonly used as flavoring in foods and beverages and as a fragrance in soaps and cosmetics. Peppermint oil also is used for a variety of health conditions and can be taken orally in dietary supplements or topically as a skin cream or ointment. Some evidence suggests that peppermint oil may help relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome...

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: September 09, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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