{Pharmacy FAQ}

Pharmacy FAQ

Q: What should I do if my medication looks different form last time and there is no note telling me that it has changed?

A: If there was no note with your prescription bottle, check the bottle for a sticker (our pharmacy usually places it on top of the bottle and it is a green in color) that indicates it is a different brand of the same medicine.  If there is no such sticker, call the number printed on your prescription bottle and we will verify it for you.

Q:What should I do if I miss a dose of my medication?

A: Usually take the missed dose as soon as possible.  If it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed one and return to your regular schedule.  Do not take a double dose or extra doses.

Q: How should I store my medications?

A: Most prescriptions should be stored at room temperature in a cool, dry place away from moisture and preferably out of direct sunlight, heat, or both.  The medicine cabinet in the bathroom is not the best place for medications.  Moisture and temperature may affect the stability of the medication, which means that it may not last as long as it would if stored properly.  Some prescriptions should be refrigerated.  Ask your pharmacist how best to store your medications.

Q: What is the metric measurement of a teaspoonful? A tablespoonful?

A: One teaspoonful is equal to 5ml, and 1 tablespoonful if equal to 15 ml.  Remember not to use your own household silverware to measure these quantities.  The volumes of household spoons vary widely.  Our pharmacy provides complimentary accurate measuring devices with all liquid prescriptions.

Q:I was given a six-week supply of medicine.  Why am I charged two copays for one prescription?

A: One copay covers a 30-day supply.  A second copay is charged for anything more than a 30-day supply.  A six week supply is 42 days, hence an additional copay.

Q:I've had a prescription that only includes six pills, but I'm still charged a copay as if it were a full 30-day supply.  Why?

A: You are charged a copay whether your prescription calls for six pills or 60 pills.  A single copay is for one month's supply or less.  If you only have to take three days worth of pills, you're still responsible for a full copay unless the prescription charge is less than the copayment.  You then pay the prescription charge.  Some pills are very expensive, often $1 or more per pill.  Your copay can still be a bargain compared tot the actual cost of the pills.

Q: How do I get rid of my unwanted medications?

A: Transfer Unused Medicine to Authorized Collectors for Disposal. *Following information listed below is from the South Dakota Board of pharmacy website (http://doh.sd.gov/Boards/Pharmacy/)

Consumers and caregivers should remove expired, unwanted, or unused medicines from their home as quickly as possible to help reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medicine.

Medicine take-back programs are a good way to safely dispose of most types of unneeded medicines. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) periodically hosts National Prescription Drug Take-Back events where collection sites are set up in communities nationwide for safe disposal of prescription drugs. Local law enforcement agencies may also sponsor medicine take-back programs in your community. Likewise, consumers can contact their local waste management authorities to learn about medication disposal options and guidelines for their area.

Another option for consumers and long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, to dispose of unneeded medicines is to transfer unused medicines to collectors registered with the DEA. DEA-authorized collectors safely and securely collect and dispose of pharmaceuticals containing controlled substances and other medicines. In your community, authorized collection sites may be retail pharmacies, hospital or clinic pharmacies, and law enforcement locations. Some authorized collection sites may also offer mail-back programs or collection receptacles, sometimes called “drop-boxes,” to assist consumers in safely disposing of their unused medicines.

Consumers can visit the DEA’s website for more information about drug disposal, National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events and to locate a DEA-authorized collector in their area. Consumers may also call the DEA Office of Diversion Control’s Registration Call Center at 1-800-882-9539 to find an authorized collector in their community.

Disposal in Household Trash

If no medicine take-back programs or DEA-authorized collectors are available in your area, you can also follow these simple steps to dispose of most medicines in the household trash:1

  1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as dirt, kitty litter, or used coffee grounds;
  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag;
  3. Throw the container in your household trash;
  4. Scratch out all personal information on the prescription label of your empty pill bottle or empty medicine packaging to make it unreadable, then dispose of the container.

Flushing of Certain Medicines 

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 of these potentially dangerous medicines by children, or pets, it is recommended that these medicines be disposed of quickly through a medicine take-back program or by transferring them to a DEA-authorized collector. If these disposal options are not readily available, it is recommended that these medicines be flushed down the sink or toilet as soon as they are no longer needed. 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 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 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.

Medicines Recommended for Disposal by Flushing

This list from FDA tells you which medicines you should flush down the sink or toilet when they are no longer needed 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 - 94B) (revised October 2015).

Medicines recommended for disposal by flushing: medicine and active ingredient

Medicine Active Ingredient
Abstral,tablets (sublingual) Fentanyl
Actiq, oral transmucosal lozenge * Fentanyl Citrate
Avinza, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Belbuca, soluble film (buccal) Buprenorphine Hydrochloride
Buprenorphine Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) * Buprenorphine Hydrochloride
Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride, tablets (sublingual) * Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
Butrans, transdermal patch system Buprenorphine
Daytrana, 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, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Duragesic, patch (extended release) * Fentanyl
Embeda, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate; Naltrexone Hydrochloride
Exalgo, tablets (extended release) Hydromorphone Hydrochloride
Fentora, tablets (buccal) Fentanyl Citrate
Hysingla ER, tablets (extended release) Hydrocodone Bitartrate
Kadian, capsules (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Methadone Hydrochloride, oral solution * Methadone Hydrochloride
Methadose, tablets * Methadone Hydrochloride
Morphabond, tablets (extended release) Morphine Sulfate
Morphine Sulfate, tablets (immediate release) * Morphine Sulfate
Morphine Sulfate, oral solution * Morphine Sulfate
MS Contin, tablets (extended release) * Morphine Sulfate
Nucynta ER, tablets (extended release) Tapentadol
Onsolis, soluble film (buccal) Fentanyl Citrate
Opana, tablets (immediate release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Opana ER, tablets (extended release) Oxymorphone Hydrochloride
Oxecta, tablets (immediate release) Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, capsules Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycodone Hydrochloride, oral solution Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Oxycontin, tablets (extended release) Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percocet, tablets * Acetaminophen; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Percodan, tablets * Aspirin; Oxycodone Hydrochloride
Suboxone, film (sublingual) Buprenorphine Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
Targiniq ER, tablets (extended release)  Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Naloxone Hydrochloride
Xartemis XR, tablets Oxycodone Hydrochloride; Acetaminophen
Xyrem, oral solution Sodium Oxybate
Zohydro ER, capsules (extended release) Hydrocodone Bitartrate
Zubsolv, 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.  

List revised: October 2015