What should you do with your medication if it expires or is used?
Asthma puffers, Adrenaline Autoinjectors (EpiPen, AnaPen) and anti-histamines all have a shelf-life and therefore an expiry date. They should be disposed of once they have been finished or the expiry date has passed.
In Victoria, Asthma sufferers can now return their puffers to selected pharmacists under a scheme launch in October 2013 called the COMPLETE THE CYCLE Inhaler Recycling and Recovery Scheme. This aims to remove puffers from landfill and will hopefully be rolled out to other states at the commencement of the pilot.
For everyone else, empty asthma puffers (inhalers) can be disposed of in your recycling and normal bins. Simply separate the aerosol cans from the plastic to make this process quicker that the recycling plant.
Unused or partially used puffers should be returned to your pharmacist.
Used anti-histamine medication can be simply binned.
EpiPens and AnaPens
Used or expired adrenaline auto-injectors should be returned to your pharmacist or doctor for disposal, although it is not uncommon for Anaphylaxis sufferers to retain their unused auto-injectors for an additional 6 months as a backup. It wont be as effective but is better than not having one at all.
Another common usage for unused auto-injectors is to practice their usage on an orange to become accustomed to the feel and sound of the auto-injector in action.
Other Medications can be returned to Pharmacies under the Return Unwanted Medicines (RUM) Project.
They recommend that you
- Go through your home medicine area.
- Check expiry dates on all your medicines and separate all expired medicines into a container for return.
- Check that you actually need all the medicines – separate those medicines no longer needed into the container for return.
- Take the container to your local pharmacy for disposal.
RETURN UNWANTED MEDICINES
Consumer Awareness - RUM Project