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When is it OK to flush away medications?

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The FDA recommends flushing only if the drug label or accompanying information has instructions to do so. These are usually medicines that are very dangerous or fatal if they are taken by the wrong person, or if they are found by a child or pet. This includes the following medications:

  • fentanyl buccal tablets (Fentora)
  • fentanyl citrate (Actiq)
  • fentanyl transdermal system (Duragesic)
  • hydromorphone hydrochloride (Dilaudid)
  • meperidine HCL tablets (Demerol)
  • methylphenidate transdermal patch (Daytrana)
  • morphine sulfate capsules (Avinza, MS Contin)
  • oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet)
  • oxycodone tablets (OxyContin)
  • sodium oxybate (Xyrem) Other medications that should be flushed can be found on the FDA’s website.

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Family Physicians: "How to Get the Most from Your Medicine."

Institute for Safe Medication Practices: "General Advice on Safe Medication Use."

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: "Tips to Help You Remember to Take Your High Blood Pressure Medicine."

Institute for Safe Medication Practices: “Throw Away Your Old Medicines Safely.”

Office of National Drug Control Policy: “Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs.”

FDA: “How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 27, 2019

SOURCES: 

American Academy of Family Physicians: "How to Get the Most from Your Medicine."

Institute for Safe Medication Practices: "General Advice on Safe Medication Use."

National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: "Tips to Help You Remember to Take Your High Blood Pressure Medicine."

Institute for Safe Medication Practices: “Throw Away Your Old Medicines Safely.”

Office of National Drug Control Policy: “Proper Disposal of Prescription Drugs.”

FDA: “How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.”

Reviewed by Nayana Ambardekar on May 27, 2019

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How should you dispose of dangerous medication?

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