Medication Safety and Disposal

Waste including any type of needle (“sharps”) or device used to draw blood or inject medication needs proper disposal. Special care must be taken with the disposal of these items to protect you and others from injury and infection.

If your therapy includes the use of needles, we can provide a sharps container. For your safety, please follow the steps below. 


After using your medication, dispose of all syringes, lancets, or needles into a sharps container. If you don’t have a sharps container, use a hard-plastic container with a screw-on top (i.e. liquid detergent container). Before throwing out the container, reinforce the top with heavy-duty tape. Do not use clear plastic or glass containers. Waste items should not take up more than three-fourths of the container to reduce the risk of needle sticks.


Check with your local waste collection service to find disposal procedures for sharps containers in your area or ask your provider for instructions. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control website.

Needle-Stick Safety

When handling needles, follow these steps to avoid injury and possible infection.

  • Never recap a needle. 
  • Place uncapped needles and other sharps in a sharps container immediately after using. 
  • Always use a sharps container for waste. 
  • If you injure yourself or another with a needle stick or other sharps injury, contact your provider as soon as possible.

If you do not use needles or sharp items, put all used supplies (e.g., syringes or tubing) in a bag you can’t see through. Put this bag inside a second bag and dispose of it in your garbage.

Unused Medications

Unused oral chemotherapy medications can be returned to the Hollings Cancer Center Pharmacy. Any other unused oral medication can be taken to the drug take back box, located at MUSC’s public safety building.

Public Safety
101 Jonathan Lucas Street
Charleston, SC 29425 
Call 843-792-2261

Basic Injection Technique

Washing your hands often is important to avoid spreading germs or getting sick and affecting your treatment.  Always wash your hands before and after handling any medications.

Hand Washing

  • Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), and apply soap. 
  • Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. 
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. 
  • Rinse your hands well under clean, running water. 
  • Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them. 
  • If you touch anything (i.e. hair), sneeze into your hands or feel that your hands may no longer be clean, wash your hands again before continuing with your care.
  • If there is no water, use an antibacterial hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol.