Medication Disposal

How to Dispose of Medications at Home

Following an injury or surgery you or someone in your family may have leftover medications that you wish to dispose of or drop off at an approved facility. There are two ways to dispose of medications at home:

  • Flushing Medications 
  • Disposing of Medications in Household Trash

1. Flushing Medications: 

Because some medications could be especially harmful to others, they have specific directions to immediately flush them down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed. List of medications from the FDA recommended for disposal by flushing when take-back options are not readily available:

Active Ingredient Brand Name




Belbuca,  Bunavail, Butrans, Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv


Abstral, Actiq, Duragesic, Fentora, Onsolis


Diastat/Diastat AcuDial rectal gel 


Anexsia, Hysingla ER, Lortab, Norco, Reprexain, Vicodin, Vicoprofen,  Zohydro ER






Dolophine, Methadose


Daytrana transdermal patch system


Arymo ER, Embeda, Kadian, Morphabond ER, MS Contin , Avinza


Combunox, Oxaydo (formerly Oxecta), OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan, Roxicet,  Roxicodone,  Targiniq ER, Xartemis XR, Xtampza ER, Roxybond


Opana, Opana ER


Nucynta, Nucynta ER

Sodium Oxybate

Xyrem oral solution

2. Disposing of Medications in Household Trash

 Almost all medicines can be thrown into your household trash. These include prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs in pills, liquids, drops, patches, creams, and inhalers. 

Follow these steps:

  1. Remove the drugs from their original containers and mix them with something undesirable, such as used coffee grounds, dirt, or cat litter. This makes the medicine less appealing to children and pets and unrecognizable to someone who might intentionally go through the trash looking for drugs.
  2. Put the mixture in something you can close (a re-sealable zipper storage bag, empty can, or other container) to prevent the drug from leaking or spilling out.
  3. Throw the container in the garbage.
  4. Scratch out all your personal information on the empty medicine packaging to protect your identity and privacy. Throw the packaging away.

If you have a question about your medicine, ask your health care provider or pharmacist.

Other Resources

  • For disposal information specific to other medications you are taking: 
    • Please visit Drugs@FDA
    • Once there, type in the medication name and click on search
    • Then click on the label section for that specific medication 
    • Select the most recent label and search for the term “disposal”   
  • For pharmacies that accept drug/medication drop off, click here. 
  • For medication drop boxes, click here.
  • For any questions, please call our office at 212-305-4565.