Assessment of unsafe disposal of unused and expired medicines practices among households in North-west Nigeria.

Main Article Content

Ilyasu Salim
Abubakar I Jatau
Basira K Lawal
Anas Haruna
Ismaeel Yunusa
Abubakar S Wada
Garba M Khalid
Khaulat Z Jibril
Mustapha Sagir
Mustapha Mohammed


Background: Unsafe disposal of unwanted medicines continues to be of global concern. Data on such disposal practices among households and the availability of national drug disposal programmes are limited in Nigeria. This study was carried out to assess the practice of unsafe disposal of unused and expired medicines in north-west Nigeria.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study with participants recruited into the study using an online survey (via Google Forms®) and face-to-face interviews. A hyperlink to the online questionnaire was shared with the targeted population through emails and social media platforms.

Results: A total of 319 valid responses were included in the analysis, of which 60.2% reported practicing unsafe disposal of unused and expired medications. The most utilized disposal methods were discarding in the domestic dustbin (52.6%), burning (10.6%), toilet sink (9.4%), and water drain (9.4%). Frequently involved medicines were analgesics (32.6%), antibiotics (24.4%), and antimalarials (21.7%). Most of the practice resulted from non-adherence (34.9%), self-medication (23.6%), polypharmacy (23.4%), adverse effects (18.1%), and incidental ingestion by children (9.4%). Participants (86.2%) are aware of the health hazards related to the practice, and (95.3%) were willing to comply with the RUM concept.

Conclusion: Given the high prevalence of unsafe disposal practices of unused and expired medicines in the community vis-à-vis their ecotoxicological implications, a spontaneous review of the current national medicines' disposal regulations jointly by the Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Environment that would include interventions such as Return Unused Medicines is highly recommended.

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How to Cite
Salim, I. ., Jatau, A. I., Lawal, B. K. ., Haruna, A. ., Yunusa, I. ., Wada, A. S. ., Khalid, G. M. ., Jibril, K. Z. ., Sagir, M. ., & Mohammed, M. . (2022). Assessment of unsafe disposal of unused and expired medicines practices among households in North-west Nigeria.: The Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy, 56(2). Retrieved from
Author Biographies

Garba M Khalid, Pharmaceutical Engineering Group, School of Pharmacy, Queen's University, Belfast BT9, UK

Department of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Technology, Bayero University, Kano Nigeria

Mustapha Sagir, Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medical Sciences, University Sains Malaysia, Malaysia

Mustapha Mohammed, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia

Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Ahmadu Bello
University, Zaria, Kaduna, Nigeria


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