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Cleaning out the medicine cabinet – an essential New Year’s resolution

Cleaning out the medicine cabinet – an essential New Year’s resolution

How many times have you gone to your medicine cabinet only to be confronted with bottle upon bottle of unused or expired prescriptions? As time passes, medications quickly accumulate, making it more difficult to find space to store new prescriptions and equally hard to find what you’re looking for.

According to an article posted on News-Medicine.net, “Because each season brings a host of new illnesses and conditions, it’s easy for medicine cabinets to become cluttered with unused or expired prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbals that can potentially be harmful to one’s health. Hanging onto old, expired or unused medications can increase the chances of taking the wrong one. Old, expired medications can lose their potency thus reducing or providing no value to the condition being treated and unused medications have the potential to be abused and misused.”

Therefore, to add “clean out the medicine cabinet” to your list of New Year’s resolutions, here are a few tips care of News-Medicine.net to make it happen:

  • Medications should be stored in a secured area that has low humidity, a stable temperature and adequate lighting.
  • Check the date on everything in your medicine cabinet and dispose of anything that has passed the expiration date.
  • Properly dispose of anything you have not used in the past 12 months.
  • Properly dispose of any prescription medications you no longer need. Do not share prescription medications with others.
  • Properly dispose of medicines no longer in their original container or that can no longer be identified.
  • Properly dispose of medicines that have changed color, odor or taste.
  • Do not flush unused or expired medications and do not pour them down a sink or drain. They should be disposed of properly in the household trash or through your community’s medication disposal program, when available. Follow these easy steps before disposing in the trash:
    • Pour medication into a sealable plastic bag. If medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), add water to dissolve it.
    • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds (or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat) to the plastic bag.
    • Seal the plastic bag and put it in the trash.
    • Remove and destroy ALL identifying personal information (prescription label) from all medication containers before recycling them or throwing them away.
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