Expired medications and disposal practices in Arab households

Rose Ghemrawi, Zelal Kharaba, Raghad Aldulaymi, Nezar Albataineh, Fady Alghaly, Naji Qasem, Mostafa Khair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives Over the past few decades, the accumulation of expired and unused medications in households has become a concern. Most people are unaware of how to properly dispose of unused and/or expired medicines. Our objective was to inspect the extent of expired medications within Arab households in United Arab Emirates (UAE), to determine which therapeutic groups yield greater amounts of unused medications, and evaluate drugs’ disposal practices. Methods This descriptive study was written in accordance with the STROBE (Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology) checklist for cross-sectional studies. It was conducted among Arab households in UAE (n = 503) using an online questionnaire between November 2020 and January 2021. Questions were related to participants’ socio-demographics, the prevalence of expired medications in households and their disposal. Key findings Around 58% of the respondents had expired medications in their houses and 74% had drugs that were never used. The most common medicines left unused were analgesics (34%) followed by cosmetics (27%) and antibiotics (26%). More than 42% of expired medications were in solid dosage forms, 28% were semisolid and 24% were liquid dosage forms.The predominant disposal method among the surveyed participants was throwing medications into the garbage (86%). Conclusions Large quantities of expired medications in Arab households exist with a high prevalence of analgesics, antibiotics and cosmetics. Arab households are unaware of the proper drug disposal procedures.Therefore, community pharmacists are recommended to offer training on proper medication disposal practices and to encourage the public to return medications to pharmacies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-540
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Pharmacy Practice
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2022


  • Arab households
  • cross-sectional
  • disposal practices
  • expired medications

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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