Vitamins, analgesics, antibiotics and tranquilizers are some of the medicines that remain in homes or are ingested even after the expiration of the recommended date for consumption.
An outdated drug loses potential to act in the body and achieve the desired effect; In other cases, its components may undergo chemical changes that specifically affect organs such as the liver, kidneys and stomach.
It is also not good to throw them into the drain, since they contain toxic substances that can damage the soil and even filter to the underground water tanks; nor burn them, because doing so releases pollutants; much less throw them away, because they are often collected to sell them in the informal market.
In Mexico, these wastes end up in incineration plants or landfills; However, it is possible to give them a treatment to take advantage of their components in the manufacture of new products.
That is the goal of the doctor's research group Georgina Fernández, academic of the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering of the Faculty of Engineering of the UNAM , as part of a project sponsored by the National Center for Disaster Prevention.
What we do in our laboratory is to subject them to a physical-chemical treatment through acid and alkaline hydrolysis. This basically consists of adding water and changing the Ph level.
We can also recover some of the active substances of the drugs and transform them into other elements. For example, aspirin acetylsalicylic acid convert it into sodium acetylate, which is used as a component of ointments without risk to health, "said the researcher.
In other countries, the population usually takes the drugs that have expired to pharmacies, where they are collected by the staff of the laboratories that produce them. This is just one of the actions that the World Health Organization suggests to classify, confine and give treatments to the different types of expired medications.