Time to Clean Your Medicine Cabinet
A recent article written by Manulife Pharmacist Alex Carducci expressed his fear that medicine cabinets may contain unused, expired, long-forgotten prescription or over-the-counter medications.
He warns there can be serious consequences if those medications fall into the wrong hands (e.g., children) or are taken improperly, either deliberately or by accident. In many cases, expired medications have lost their potency and will not be effective when you do need them.
How do all these little bottles accumulate? How is it possible that the expiry dates passed so long ago? This can happen for several reasons:
- The person the medicine was prescribed to started feeling better and didn’t finish the dose
- The medication didn’t seem to be working, so the person quit taking it early
- Over-the-counter drugs are kept “just in case” and then somehow it’s years later and we haven’t used them
- The medication was purchased for a child or guest, who has since left the home without using it up
Please take a minute and have a look at your own medicine cabinet. Are there expired medications that should be disposed of?
It is important to remember not to flush medications down the drain. As the Government of Canada notes, “Due to improper disposal of these drugs, there are traces of pharmaceuticals in the environment – in the soil and in the water.”
Instead, to get rid of old, unwanted medications (including natural health products), drop them off at your local pharmacy for proper handling and disposal.
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Information and resources can also be found on the GSI website.
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