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Thread: Medications? What to do with them?

  1. #1

    Question Medications? What to do with them?

    Hi all... I am having an issue figuring out what to do with the medications that were left behind when Mitch passed away.

    I have Morphine Sulfate, Oxycodone, Lortabs.... all of which are narcotics. So I called the pharmacy and the pharmacist told me that there is no program here in SC to dispose of narcotics and she recommended that I add some water to the pill bottles, shake it up until it becomes a gel, and then throw it in the trash. She said that it would eventually end up in the water supply, but that it would happen slower than if I were to flush them.

    Personally I just don't understand this. I know that Mitch's doctors and nurses had to fight like CRAZY with Medicaid to GET Mitch these medications. They didn't want to pay for the narcotics even though he was a stage IV lung cancer patient. I just HATE to throw the medications away when I'm sure there are other people out there who are having problems getting their medications too. I just don't understand why there isn't some sort of program in place to donate these meds to so that they don't go to waste or end up polluting the ground water. Does anyone know of anything that I'm not aware of?

    Thanks in advance,
    Amanda
    Caregiver to the father of my young sons from 01/2010 - 09/2011
    After fighting lung cancer for nearly two years, my beloved Mitch left this life on 9-16-11
    I miss you and love you with all that I am.

  2. #2
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    6,592
    Hi Amanda and I am sorry for Mitch's passing but find what you are doing admirable. I looked around and found a document that has donation laws for all the states which have them but can't attach it due to size limitations. I think you will be able to access it from this link: www.namsdl.org/documents/StateLawsChart.pdf

    From what I read, many state laws state that their State Drug Repository must accept unused, unexpired drugs in their original packaging from "any individual" and most specify cancer drugs as one of the categories to be accepted. Seems to me that you could mail them to whatever one seems best aligned with your objective.

    I hope this helps. Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 67
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxan, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.
    February 2015 - Doc and I agreed to stop R maintenance as it is depressing my immune system too much.
    June 2015 - Confirm that the beast is back by physical exam, will scan in August after esophageal issues settle down so we can get a clear view.
    August 2015 - physical exam in error, PET/CT shows no evidence of disease. Remission continues well into second year!
    December 2015 - Cardiologist tells me I have plaque buildup growing at an alarming rate. Stent or bypass down the road but not yet...
    March 2016 - new tumor below the jaw so remission is over. Back to active surveillance until treatment is needed.
    June 2016 - C/T scan indicates presence of multiple lesions in iliac chain.
    August 2016 - PET/CT shows multiple areas of lymphoma as expected plus new areas of concern in bowel.
    January 2017 - C/T scan shows significant progression in cervical and inguinal lymph chains, largest tumor is impacting hearing, measures 2.1x4.6 cm. 4 to 8 cycles of R-CVP, 1x3weeks to commence 2/6/17.
    April 2017 - Mid treatment scan shows about 1/3 reduction in multiple tumors. Also shows abdominal aortic aneurysm with peripheral thrombus. Cardiologist changed meds, spoke of need for surgical repair down the road.
    September 2017 - finished 10 rounds of R-CP, V was stopped due to neuropathy in feet. No further treatment planned at this time, at least 10 tumors can be felt which seem to be growing again.
    December 2017 - Biopsy of external iliac node with SUV of 13.1 shows no transformation! However, the FL grade is now 3A instead of Gr 1-2. Will start indefinite protocol using Copanlisib, one of the new targeted therapies. I remain hopeful.
    March 2018 - Copanlisib failed, treatment stopped 3/28. New plan is to go to Dana Farber on 4/16 for case review and treatment recommendation.

    May 2018 - did not qualify for clinical trials at Dana Farber. Tumors need to get larger to be considered. On consultation w/Dr. Armand at DF and my onc, have decided to take a break from cancer treatments. Will have a biopsy of the mass in my sinus discovered in scan at DF and to get the aneurysm repaired as it has developed a potentially catastrophic penetrating ulcer. Surgery scheduled for 7/12.

    September 2018 - biopsy of mass in nose shows transformed DLBCL throughout. Assessing options for this negative development.

    October 2018 - started 6 to 8 cycles of R-CHOP. Goal is to get to full remission to open up other options.

    February/March 2019 - PET shows four hot spots following R-CHOP. referred to Dana Farber for stem cell transplant. Pre testing all good, accepted for Auto Transplant. Will begin inpatient process about April 1.

  3. #3
    Thank you very much... but wouldn't you know that South Carolina isn't on that list. That is just frustrating! I am not going to get on a political rant, but it just irks me terribly that these pharmaceutical companies are getting rich off of people who are DEPENDENT on these drugs. These medications are extremely expensive (not to mention TOXIC). There should be some sort of program in place to donate these leftover (already paid for) medications to people who otherwise couldn't afford it. Ok, I'm done.
    Caregiver to the father of my young sons from 01/2010 - 09/2011
    After fighting lung cancer for nearly two years, my beloved Mitch left this life on 9-16-11
    I miss you and love you with all that I am.

  4. #4
    Administrator Top User Kermica's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    6,592
    i couldn't agree more, Amanda...it won't help you in South Carolina but could help someone else if you mail them to one of the other states that will accept them.

    Good health,

    kermica
    When the world says, "Give up," Hope whispers, "Try it one more time."
    ~Author Unknown

    Age 67
    Follicular lymphoma diagnosed August 08, Stage 1
    2 cycles (20 treatments each) localized radiation to tumor sites. Remission confirmed July 09
    Restaged to Stage 3 May 2010
    Recurrence confirmed May 2010 - Watch and Wait commenced - multiple scans with minimal progression.
    Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma diagnosed September 2012. Mohs surgical excision 09/2012. Successful, clean edges all around.
    Significant progression detected in PET scan - December 2012
    Biopsy to check for transformation 1/18/2013 - negative for that but full of lymphoma, of course.
    July 2013 - Rescan due to progression shows one tumor (among many) very suspect for transformation, another biopsy 8/12/13.
    August 2013 - No evidence of transformation, 6 courses of B+R commence 8/29 due to "extensive, systemic disease".
    February 2014 - Diagnostic PET scan states: Negative PET scan. Previous noted hypermetabolic cervical, axillary, iliac and inguinal lymphadenopathy has resolved. Doctor confirms full remission.
    June 2014 - started 2 year maintenance Rituxan, 1 infusion every 3 months. Doctor confirms lump under right arm are "suspicious" for recurrent disease, deferring scans for now.
    February 2015 - Doc and I agreed to stop R maintenance as it is depressing my immune system too much.
    June 2015 - Confirm that the beast is back by physical exam, will scan in August after esophageal issues settle down so we can get a clear view.
    August 2015 - physical exam in error, PET/CT shows no evidence of disease. Remission continues well into second year!
    December 2015 - Cardiologist tells me I have plaque buildup growing at an alarming rate. Stent or bypass down the road but not yet...
    March 2016 - new tumor below the jaw so remission is over. Back to active surveillance until treatment is needed.
    June 2016 - C/T scan indicates presence of multiple lesions in iliac chain.
    August 2016 - PET/CT shows multiple areas of lymphoma as expected plus new areas of concern in bowel.
    January 2017 - C/T scan shows significant progression in cervical and inguinal lymph chains, largest tumor is impacting hearing, measures 2.1x4.6 cm. 4 to 8 cycles of R-CVP, 1x3weeks to commence 2/6/17.
    April 2017 - Mid treatment scan shows about 1/3 reduction in multiple tumors. Also shows abdominal aortic aneurysm with peripheral thrombus. Cardiologist changed meds, spoke of need for surgical repair down the road.
    September 2017 - finished 10 rounds of R-CP, V was stopped due to neuropathy in feet. No further treatment planned at this time, at least 10 tumors can be felt which seem to be growing again.
    December 2017 - Biopsy of external iliac node with SUV of 13.1 shows no transformation! However, the FL grade is now 3A instead of Gr 1-2. Will start indefinite protocol using Copanlisib, one of the new targeted therapies. I remain hopeful.
    March 2018 - Copanlisib failed, treatment stopped 3/28. New plan is to go to Dana Farber on 4/16 for case review and treatment recommendation.

    May 2018 - did not qualify for clinical trials at Dana Farber. Tumors need to get larger to be considered. On consultation w/Dr. Armand at DF and my onc, have decided to take a break from cancer treatments. Will have a biopsy of the mass in my sinus discovered in scan at DF and to get the aneurysm repaired as it has developed a potentially catastrophic penetrating ulcer. Surgery scheduled for 7/12.

    September 2018 - biopsy of mass in nose shows transformed DLBCL throughout. Assessing options for this negative development.

    October 2018 - started 6 to 8 cycles of R-CHOP. Goal is to get to full remission to open up other options.

    February/March 2019 - PET shows four hot spots following R-CHOP. referred to Dana Farber for stem cell transplant. Pre testing all good, accepted for Auto Transplant. Will begin inpatient process about April 1.

  5. #5
    Thanks! I have been wondering about this too. It does seem like a waste and I know there are people out there who are not taking medications because they cannot afford them.

    Amanda- I am so sorry about Mitch. Sometimes it is hard to post because it makes you realize your own fate. My thoughts are with you and your family. You have been an inspiration to caregivers.
    Spouse/Caregiver of 56 yr old male
    Diagnosed Primary CNS Lymphoma 2/2011
    HDMTX Chemo- 8 cycles
    HDMTX Maintenance Chemo- 11 cycles
    Complications: clots, kidney issues, slow clearance of
    chemo, dermatitis
    11/2013 Recurring clots in lungs/legs
    Scan 12-27-13 all clear
    Scan 3-13 all clear
    Next scan in October, done and all clear!
    Went early for scanxiety in Aug 2014, all clear!
    Scan Feb 2015, all clear!

  6. #6
    Top User pbj11's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,595
    I did the fill it with water and seal for the dump thing after having the same difficulty over donations. It struck me as odd too, but then I found out about the amount being found in our drinking water supply from people flushing prescriptions.

    Before going through this myself, I always thought that you could donate and am glad Kermica found something that some will be able to utilize. We should make that link a sticky in this section for others who find themselves with extra meds. I still had two several hundred dollar bottles, brand new in the bag, from the pharmacy when my husband passed, that I knew others could well use.

    Prices are high, there's no denying it. So is the start to finish research and testing process to produce something effective that will receive FDA approval. For every successful drug brought to market, there are a multitude of failures. Hundreds of millions of dollars go into research for one drug that may never make it out of a lab, much less past clinical trials for approval to market. They also must have investors in order to pay for the research. No return on the investments, no investors, no new drugs developed. The United States pays higher prices because other countries have reduced rates due to their government negotiating prices. I presume we take up the slack, although pharmaceutical companies are the ones currently reducing prices by 50% on brand name drugs for Seniors on Medicare Part D. In addition, virtually all pharmaceutical companies have programs to help low income cancer patients with obtaining chemotherapy drugs.

    For what it's worth, I'll forever be grateful to those pharmaceutical companies, as they gave my husband a lot of extra time to live in a terminal situation. Same with my mother. Same with my brother in law. Same with many friends. I'm glad I learned the rhyme and reason behind the costs.

    Here's a link to an article about states who have retail pharmacy drug return and other donor programs and how some work and some don't. It was interesting: http://www.lvrj.com/news/pharmacies-...124558809.html
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  7. #7
    Administrator Top User ChemoMan's Avatar
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    Jun 2008
    Posts
    9,858
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    We should make that link a sticky in this section for others who find themselves with extra meds.
    Done
    Age 62
    Diffuse Large B cell Lymphoma
    Stage 2a Bulky presentation
    Finished six cycles of R chop 21 26th May 2008
    Officially in remission 9th July 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 1st October 2008
    Remission reconfirmed 17th June 2009
    Remission reconfirmed 7th June 2010
    Remission reconfirmed 6th July 2011

    NED AND DECLARED CURED on the 2/01/2013

    No more scheduled visits to the Prof
    http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.php?t=9620

    Still alive in 2019 !

    RULE NUMBER 1.....Don't Panic
    RULE NUMBER 2..... Don't forget rule Number 1

    Great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

    I may not have gone where I intended to go,
    but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

  8. #8
    Top User pbj11's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    6,595
    Thanks C-man. I'm behind on my duties today!
    Husband diagnosed with NSCLC Stage IV in 3/2005. Fought & lived over 2 1/2 years with multiple lines of treatment.

    Post describing our journey: http://cancerforums.net/viewtopic.ph...er=asc&start=0

    Left my embrace to live with our Heavenly Father in October of 2007 and now breathes with ease forever. I will miss this gentle, giving soul with the easy smile for the rest of my days, but have faith we will be together again. He's just getting a little break from me!

  9. #9
    Experienced User
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Posts
    60
    Hi, sorry to hear of your lost.

    Things are very different in my country.... but have you talked to Mitch's nurse. Or just package them up and deliver to them. I know there's rules and regulations about using others meds, but in the right nurses hand, they may end up in a very thankful home.

  10. #10
    I hope this doesn't get me kicked off the board, but breaking the law is always an option if you feel relatively secure or just want to make a stand.

    I filled quite a few prescriptions before realizing that even the ones I truly needed didn't do what they were supposed to do ... Would have really helped my financial hardship if I had had the guts to sell them on the street. I ended up rationalizing that giving them away to folks with the same prescriptions was "less illegal" than selling them.

    To me, the worse crime would have been to throw away drugs worth more than my weekly wages.

 

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