Make the Medicine Cabinet Part of Spring Cleaning

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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