There is a small number of medicines that may be especially harmful and, in some cases, fatal with just one dose if they are used by someone other than the person for whom the medicine was prescribed. To prevent accidental ingestion by children, pets, or anyone else, a few medicines have specific disposal instructions indicating they should be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed, and when they cannot be disposed of through a medicine take-back program. Click here for a list of medicines recommended for disposal by flushing. For example, patients in assisted living communities using fentanyl patches for pain should immediately flush their used or unneeded patches down the toilet. When you dispose of these patches and certain other powerful medicines down the sink or toilet you help to keep others safe by ensuring that these medicines cannot be used again or accidentally ingested and cause harm.
You may have also received disposal directions for these medicines when you picked up your prescription. If your medicine is on this list, and you did not receive information containing disposal instructions along with your dispensed prescription, you can find instructions on how to dispose of the medicines at DailyMed, by searching on the drug name and then looking in one of the following sections of the prescribing information:
- Information for Patients and Caregivers
- Patient Information
- Patient Counseling Information
- Safety and Handling Instructions
- Medication Guide
FDA remains committed to working with other federal agencies and medicine manufacturers to develop alternative, safe disposal policies. Below is some additional information about flushing medicine when it is no longer needed. If you have additional questions about disposing of your medicine, please contact us at 1-888-INFO-FDA (1-888-463-6332).
For additional information, see Medication Disposal: Questions and Answers.
This list from FDA tells you what expired, unwanted, or unused medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet to help prevent danger to people and pets in the home. Flushing these medicines will get rid of them right away and help keep your family and pets safe.
Links in the list below go to medicine information for consumers that includes specific disposal instructions. Click here for a printable version of this list (PDF – 106B) (revised February 2015).
- Abstral (PDF – 1M), tablets (sublingual) – Fentanyl
- Actiq (PDF – 251KB), oral transmucosal lozenge* – Fentanyl Citrate
- Avinza (PDF – 51KB), capsules (extended release) – Morphine Sulfate
- Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual)* – Buprenorphine Hydrochloride
- Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual)*– Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
- Butrans (PDF – 388KB), transdermal patch system – Buprenorphine
- Daytrana (PDF – 281KB), transdermal patch system – Methylphenidate
- Demerol, tablets*– Meperidine Hydrochloride
- Demerol, oral solution*– Meperidine Hydrochloride
- Diastat/Diastat AcuDial, rectal gel [for disposal instructions: click on link, then go to “Label information” and view current label] – Diazepam
- Dilaudid, tablets* – Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
- Dilaudid, oral liquid* – Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
- Dolophine Hydrochloride (PDF – 48KB), tablets* – Methadone Hydrochloride
- Duragesic (PDF – 179KB), patch (extended release)* – Fentanyl
- Embeda (PDF – 39KB), capsules (extended release) – Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride
- Exalgo (PDF – 83KB), tablets (extended release) – Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
- Fentora (PDF – 338KB), tablets (buccal) – Fentanyl Citrate
- Hysingla ER (PDF – 78KB) tablets (extended release) – Hydrocodone Bitartrate
- Kadian (PDF – 135KB), capsules (extended release)Morphine Sulfate
- Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution* – Methadone Hydrochloride
- Methadose, tablets* – Methadone Hydrochloride
- Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release)* – Morphine Sulfate
- Morphine Sulfate (PDF – 282KB), oral solution* – Morphine Sulfate
- MS Contin (PDF – 433KB), tablets (extended release)* – Morphine Sulfate
- Nucynta ER (PDF – 38KB), tablets (extended release) – Tapentadol
- Onsolis (PDF – 297KB), soluble film (buccal) – Fentanyl Citrate
- Opana, tablets (immediate release) – Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
- Opana ER (PDF – 56KB), tablets (extended release) – Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
- Oxecta, tablets (immediate release) – Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules – Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Oxycodone Hydrochloride (PDF – 100KB), oral solution – Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Oxycontin (PDF – 417KB), tablets (extended release) – Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Percocet, tablets* – Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Percodan, tablets* – Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
- Suboxone (PDF – 83KB), film (sublingual) – Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
- Xartemis XR (PDF – 113KB) tablets – Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Acetaminophen
- Xyrem (PDF – 185KB), oral solution – Sodium Oxybate
- Zohydro ER (PDF – 90KB) capsules (extended release) – Hydrocodone Bitartrate
- Zubsolv (PDF – 354KB), tablets (sublingual) – Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
*These medicines have generic versions available or are only available in generic formulations.
FDA continually evaluates medicines for safety risks and will update the list as needed.
From the Food and Drug Administration website. Updated February 2015.