Best way to dispose of chloramphenicol?

I know it’s a stupid question and I should just chuck it but it’s a large bottle and sometimes I’ve got homeless people rooting around in my trash. Draw skull and crossbones on the label? Any other ideas?

I don’t know what chloramphenicol is. From your OP, I assume it’s poisonous. Sometimes towns will have a “hazardous waste day” where people can turn in stuff like that for proper disposal. Might want to check with local officials and/or waste management folks…

It’s an antibiotic. I have looked for a hazardous waste day event in my area but I couldn’t find anything, unfortunately. Thanks though.

Call a local pharmacy and ask if they have a dropoff or other advice.

Proper disposal of chloramphenicol requires a chemical incinerator equipped with an afterburner and scrubber. A pharmacy scheme is the safest method available to you.

Do not dispose of it in the sewerage system. If you do place it in your bin, consider mixing it with an inedible substance, and seal it in a secondary container if possible.

We have been advised by our local authorities to mix such substances with undesirable other substances like used cat litter or plain old dirt to make it undesirable and hard to notice, and then discard it with your garbage. Your trash rummager is not going to search through used cat litter to see if there’s anything in there.

I’d like to know where you got hold of it. In the west, at any rate, it’s hardly every prescribed for anything anymore…possibly not even legal to dispense in the USA.

Chloramphenicol was the first wide-spectrum antibiotic, effective against almost everything, and it was prescribed like candy during the 1950s. The problem with it was it could cause aplastic anemia in some patients, a fatal condition at the time with no treatment. This was noticed very shortly after its introduction in 1949 - but the company that made it, Parke-Davis, denied there was a problem for DECADES and refused to pull it from the market or even warn doctors of the issue. This eventually resulted in, IIRC, a full-scale FDA investigation and a congressional inquiry.

There’s a rather good book on the subject - “Adverse Reactions” by Thomas Maeder. It’s a serious, interesting book on the history of the pharmaceutical industry and the FDA in general and choramphenicol in particular.

The solution to pollution is dilution.

You may be joking, but …
Please don’t do this with unwanted medications - waste water treatment plants and home septic systems are not set up to remove pharmaceutical compounds from waste water, and they end up in our surface and drinking water. Antibiotics, like the drug the OP is trying to get rid of, can also harm the treatment system itself by killing off bacteria and other microbes.

If you don’t have a local household hazardous waste program that will accept it, here are the federal guidelines for unwanted medication disposal.

Professionally advising people on the proper disposal of unwanted medications since 2003 (or so)

Second the emotion on taking it to a pharmacy. That stuff needs to be nuked from orbit.

miatachris, R.Ph.

Prescribed for my dog.

I did call a couple of drugstores but they didn’t take old medication. I also tried to see if the veterinary hospital that prescribed it would take it back but the receptionist was less than helpful. I’ve been thinking of doing the coffee grounds route as mentioned by other posters (don’t have a cat) but am kind of reluctant to do that because I have a lot of this stuff (well over 100 500mg pills). Maybe I’ll use it as a paperweight.

Is there a hospital in your area? A hospital pharmacy might be more likely to take old medication for disposal than a local drugstore. Don’t know, just guessing based on what little I know of hospital administration…

Out of curiosity, is there a downside to burning it? You can get disposable charcoal grills, or make one out of a coffee can. Start with charcoal, add the pills, douse em with lighter fluid, drop a match…

Mix up a batch of plaster of paris (available at craft and hobby stores), pour it into a mold (an old milk carton or a box lined with foil or saran wrap will do), then stir in the pills. After it’s hardened, through the lump out with the trash. No one will pick through it, and it should reduce the likelihood of the pills dissolving and and contaminating their surroundings.

“The solution to pollution is dilution” is a joke I was making. But it was also the unofficial policy of a corporation I used to work for. That was the slogan we used while winking at each other. Just add water, then add more, and flush it into the river. The company was sold and the new owners are even worse.

No I don’t want to talk about it.