Parents have questions about big drug recall

May 5, 2010

Forty varieties of liquid medications for children have been pulled from store shelves because of possible contamination. Many parents who have some of the recalled medication also wonder how it should be disposed of properly.

The recalled drugs are some of the most popular brands out there including Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl. By one estimate, it's about 70 percent of the market for pediatric over-the-counter medications. So a lot of parents have a lot of questions and a lot of drugs to dispose of.

Allison Schachter is going through her cabinet looking through the children's medicines to determine what she needs to get rid of. The long list of recalled children's medicines include some of the most popular drugs found in many parent's cabinets, and sure enough, she finds three drugs she'll need to get rid of.

"It's annoying but not disturbing...these things happen and they caught it," said Schachter.

Schachter said she gave one of the drugs to her 2-year-old son recently, and he's fine, but she's taking no chances.

Pediatricians agree. Dr. Scott Goldstein said he has never seen a recall of this size. His office is being flooded with calls from parents. Most, he said, have lots of questions.

"The safest thing is not to give it. Even I have given it to my children, and I got rid of it," said Goldstein.

Just getting rid of it, however, is not so easy. You're not supposed to just drop it in the garbage or pour it down the drain. Some retailers are accepting the recalled drugs and offering coupons to exchange them for generic versions.

If you want to just get rid of it, the FDA suggests several steps, including mixing the drug with something that will hide it or make it unappealing, like coffee grounds. Place it in a container, like a sealed plastic bag. And then you can throw the container in the household trash.

Doctors say, despite the small risk the drugs pose, it is best to dispose of them.

"Just because there's a remote chance would cause harm doesn't mean there's no chance," said Goldstein.

Some people have quite a bit of these medicines worth a little bit of money at home. They might be a little hesitant to get rid of it. There is information on the McNeil Healthcare website about how to get a refund.

The FDA also has more information about disposing of these drugs safely.

Copyright © 2023 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.