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How to Dispose of Inhaler Pharmaceuticals
Once those inhaler pharmaceuticals expire, it's time to throw them away. Leaving expired medicine of any kind around the house is not safe. But how you get rid of the spent or expired inhaler depends on the chemicals in your inhaler and your town's disposal policy. There's no universal disposal method for this type of medication, especially since inhalers are pressurized and some may explode if incinerated. Once you've gotten the right information, disposing of the inhaler is easy.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Review the label on your inhaler first, advises the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 1. Older inhalers may contain chlorofluorocarbons (an environmental pollutant), while newer ones are more environmentally friendly.
How to Store Asthma Inhalers
Call your town's waste department to ask someone how to dispose of inhalers properly if you can't find the label. The FDA notes that you may be asked to recycle, throw away or take inhaler pharmaceuticals to a hazardous waste facility, depending on where you live and what type of inhaler you have.
Follow the disposal procedure recommended for your town and your type of inhaler. If you're throwing the inhaler in a trash bin, wrap it in a plastic bag along with food scraps or coffee grounds to discourage children from picking it out of the trash.
Go through your medicine cabinet regularly and dispose of old inhalers and other pharmaceuticals as needed.
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- U.S. Food and Drug Administration: How to Dispose of Unused Medicines
- Food and Drug Administration. Flovent HFA label. Updated November 2010.
- Food and Drug Administration. Qvar label. Updated September 2017.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. familydoctor.org. How to Use a Metered Dose Inhaler. Updated July 22, 2019.
- Food and Drug Administration. Symbicort label. Updated January 2017.
- Food and Drug Administration. Proair HFA (albuterol sulfate) label. Updated February 2019.
- Food and Drug Administration. Expiration dates—questions and answers. Updated April 26, 2018.
- Go through your medicine cabinet regularly and dispose of old inhalers and other pharmaceuticals as needed.
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