Spring Clean Your Medicine Cabinet

By Lisa  |  Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |   |  Leave comment

Spring is the time a lot of us will go through and do a thorough cleaning of our home. We pull back the furniture, wash the curtains, and scrub the windows. This is a great time to also clean out one of those forgotten cabinets in our home - the medicine cabinet.

Many of us store medications "just in case" we need them. However, most medications, even over-the-counter ones, expire after a few years and are no longer effective.

The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) has come up with the following guidelines for cleaning out your medicine cabinet:

  • Check the date on everything in the medicine cabinet and dispose of anything that has expired. Prescription drugs typically have the date printed on the bottle label or on the original box.
  • Properly dispose of any drugs not used within the past 12 months.
  • If you no longer need a prescription, properly dispose of it. Do not share prescription medications with others.
  • If you can't identify a medicine, or if it is no longer in its original container, properly dispose of it.
  • Properly dispose of medicines that have changed color, odor or taste.
  • Store medicines in a secure area with low humidity, a stable temperature and adequate lighting.
  • Do not flush unused or expired medications and do not pour them down the sink or drain. Check to see if your community has a medication disposal program or dispose of medication properly in the household trash.
  • Before disposing of medications in the trash, pour them into a sealable plastic bag. If the medication is a solid pill, liquid capsule, etc. add water to dissolve it first. It is a good idea to add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds or any material that mixes with the medication to make it less appealing to children and pets in the event they get into the garbage.
  • Before disposing of your medication containers in the garbage or recycle bin, be sure to remove all identifying personal information.
  • APhA has a website where you can find out more information on how to properly dispose of medications at SMARxTDisposal.net.

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