In a recent newsletter from Beth Israel Hospital, NYC, Elizabeth Palillo, PharmD, Clinical Pharmacy Manager stresses that at least once a year we need to go through our medicine cabinets and do the following:
- Throw out expired products.
- Discard prescription medications we don’t use anymore.
- If the cold and flu season is over, throw that medicine out. The cough medicine bottle is probably contaminated because someone drank right from the bottle.
- Throw out last year’s sunscreen as sunscreen degrades after being exposed to heat.
- Restock first aid products.
Ms. Palillo offers the following advice about storing and disposing of medicine:
- Find another place than the bathroom to store medicine as there is too much heat and steam in this room on a regular basis. Better places are: nightstands, a kitchen cabinet or a desk.
- Take care disposing of your medicines. Dump pills and liquids in a tin can that can be sealed, such as a coffee can and mix with something non-edible such as kitty litter or powdered detergent. Duct tape the lid to the can and dispose of in the garbage.
Be environmentally friendly and don’t flush medicine down the toilet. Exceptions to the no-flush rule are narcotics and painkillers. The reason for suggesting flushing these medications is there is potential for them to be found in the trash and abused.
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