How to properly dispose of expired medications? – Teach me about Science

It is likely that in our homes we have medicine that we did not finish taking after receiving a treatment. Either because of the price or because we like to keep things, sometimes we keep these medicines for very long times that can expire.

Other people like to have medicine saved as part of their medicine cabinet, although the best recommendation is always to avoid self-medication. But hey, some people have at least paracetamol or aspirin tablets for any situation that might arise.

Whatever the reason for storing medicines, they reach their expiration date and are no longer safe to consume. It is not recommended to take these medications since they could cause adverse effects in people and also because they will not cause the desired therapeutic effect, that is, they will not heal you.

What to do with expired medications?

Governments of various countries, in collaboration with the pharmaceutical industries, have generated programs for the proper disposal of expired drugs, so that they properly fulfill their life cycle. These programs are focused on placing containers in pharmacies, so that people can go and deposit there expired medicines, medicines that they no longer need, or medicine containers.

In Spain, for example, the program is called SIGRE and is aimed at collecting medicines and containers for recycling. They currently have more than 22,000 pharmacies that collaborate in this program and their primary concern is people’s health and care for the environment.

In Mexico, the implemented program is called the National System for the Management of Packaging and Drug Waste, AC (SINGREM), which was founded by the National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry, (CANIFARMA), the Mexican Association of Pharmaceutical Research Industries (AMIIF ) and the National Association of Drug Manufacturers (ANAFAM), whose objectives are focused on the collection, proper handling, and destruction of expired and unnecessary drugs from the population.


Do not take expired medications.

Do not throw medicines in the trash or in your bathroom sink, because they can harm the environment, be it animal species or plant species, but they can have negative effects on nature.

If the medications are antibiotics with a greater reason, take them to the collection centers that are in the pharmacies. Do not throw them away, because their effect on bacteria can be very serious, since resistance to antibiotics can be generated. When bacteria come into contact with antibiotics in low concentrations or with residues of these drugs, this dangerous effect can occur.

If you have stored medications and they were recommended by a doctor to treat an ailment, we recommend that you always check the expiration date, the name of the active ingredient and its concentration (the milligrams or micrograms it contains) to ensure that you will not have any negative effects.

Likewise, if you have medications at home, store them in cool, dry places, away from moisture and sunlight.

Buying the full dose of medication that the doctor has recommended, this will help your pocket and it will also help you not have other medications.

It is extremely important that in the event that they send you a treatment with antibiotics, you finish them to the letter, so that you can heal from the infection and avoid generating resistance in the bacteria in your body.

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