Background: Disposal of pharmaceutical waste among patients is a global challenge especially
in developing countries like Ethiopia. Improper medication disposal can lead to health
problems and environmental contaminations. Therefore, the present study aimed to assess disposal
practices of unused medications among patients in public health centers of Dessie town, Northeast
Methods: A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted among 263 patients in four public
health centers of Dessie town, Ethiopia from March to June, 2019. Face-to-face interviews using
structured questionnaires were used to collect data from each study subject.
Results: The majority of the respondents, 224 (85.17%) had unused medications at their home during
the study period. The most commonly reported disposal method in the present study was flushing
down into a toilet 66 (25.09%). None of the respondents practiced returning unused medications
to Pharmacy. Moreover, 85 (32.31%) of the respondents reported never disposing their medications
and believed that it is acceptable to store medications at home for future use.
Conclusion: In the present study, there was a high practice of keeping medications at home and
most of the disposal practices were not recommended methods. In addition, most of the respondents
did not get advice from pharmacists and other health care professionals on how to dispose off unused
medications. Hence, there is a need for proper education and guidance of patients regarding
disposal practices of unused medications.