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Safe Medication Disposal

Medication Disposal Image Studies have shown that pharmaceuticals are present in Illinois drinking water. Possible sources include human use, veterinary use, and agriculture use. While only trace levels of pharmaceuticals have been found at levels far below that which could affect humans safe disposal of medications is an environmental, public health and patient safety issue.

Download Tips for Safe Medication Disposal , a brochure developed by ISMS, to educate your patients on proper disposal practices for most prescription and over-the-counter medications. For patients who have unused or expired prescription medications, physicians may first want to find out why , and counsel the patient appropriately if due to non-compliance or improper administration of medication.

Physician offices should also review their own disposal practices and ensure that pharmaceutical substances are being disposed of properly, and make certain that all federal, state and local regulations are followed. Visit the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency web site for guidance at www.epa.state.il.us

Questions? Contact the Division of Health Policy Research and Advocacy at 312-782-1654.

Advisory from the FDA
There are some drugs, such as powerful narcotic pain relievers and other controlled substances, that carry instructions for flushing to reduce the danger of unintentional use or overdose and illegal abuse. If a take back program for controlled substances is not available in your area, then follow the FDA guidelines for disposal by flushing the following drugs down the toilet.

Medicine Active Ingredient
Abstral, tablets (sublingual) Fentanyl
Actiq, oral transmucosal lozenge * Fentanyl Citrate
Avinza, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Belbuca, soluble film (buccal) Buprenorphine Hydrochloride
Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) * Buprenorphine Hydrochloride
Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) * Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
Butrans, transdermal patch system Buprenorphine
Daytrana,transdermal patch system Methylphenidate
Demerol, tablets * Meperidine Hydrochloride
Demerol, oral solution * Meperidine Hydrochloride
Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel Diazepam
Dilaudid, tablets * Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Dilaudid, oral liquid * Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Dolophine Hydrochloride, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Duragesic, patch (extended release) * Fentanyl
Embeda, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride
Exalgo, tablets (extended release) Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Fentora, tablets (buccal) Fentanyl Citrate
Hysingla ER, tablets (extended release) Hydrocodone Bitartrate
Kadian, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution * Methadone Hydrochloride
Methadose, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Morphabond, tablets (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release) * Morphine Sulfate
Morphine Sulfate, oral solution * Morphine Sulfate
MS Contin, tablets (extended release) * Morphine Sulfate
Nucynta ER, tablets (extended release) Tapentadol
Onsolis, soluble film (buccal) Fentanyl Citrate
Opana, tablets (immediate release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Opana ER, tablets (extended release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Oxecta, tablets (immediate release) Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, oral solution Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycontin, tablets (extended release) Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percocet, tablets * Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percodan, tablets * Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Suboxone, film (sublingual) Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
Targiniq ER, tablets (extended release)   Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride 
Xartemis XR, tablets Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Acetaminophen
Xtampza ER, capsules (extended release) Oxycodone
Xyrem, oral solution Sodium Oxybate
Zohydro ER, capsules (extended release) Hydrocodone Bitartrate
Zubsolv, tablets (sublingual) Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride

*These medicines have generic versions available or are only available in generic formulations.


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