What do I do with expired meds (tablets, powders, ointments, etc)?
In a nut shell, you have 3 options:
1) You can remove the drugs from their original packaging, mix with something undesirable (coffee ground/kitty litter) and toss in the trash. This will work for all forms of prescriptions – pastes, powders, tablets, capsules, and liquids!
2) Take them to one of your community “Take-Back” programs. Many local pharmacies coordinate these programs.
3) Give your expired drugs back to your Veterinarian for disposal. It’s important to never flush drugs or pour them down the drain!
The FDA’s bulletin for “How to Dispose of Unused Medications” provides more infomation!
Sharps containers are a common site at barns and showgrounds!
I like to try and go through my vet kit every few months or so for a few reasons:
- Check for expired meds
- Create a "stock up" list
- Organize and clean. (I'm pretty bad about shoving stuff back in after a long day, a stressful emergency, or a blonde moment.)
- Check for temperature ratings on existing drugs. As the temps heat up in summer and start to freeze in winter, many drugs will become ineffective and start to break down. Know the temperature limits and move sensitive items to more appropriate storage.
You may also be wondering what to do with your sharps (fancy wording for needles and TB syringes). If you use needles at the barn, you can order sharps containers that can be filled up with your used needles and TB syringes, if you use those. Larger syringes can typically be disposed of in the trash - but check with your Veterinarian for your area's rules and regulations. When the sharps container is full, you need to ship it to a specialty disposal company for destruction. Some Veterinarians will provide containers and also collect full ones for you on their regular rounds.
Sharps containers come in many different sizes and shapes - your Vet can set you up!
How do you dispose of sharps and meds at your barn?