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Spring Cleaning


Has the lovely spring weather inspired you to do a thorough house cleaning? Don’t forget the medicine cabinet!

It is tempting to hang onto remnants of medications we are not currently taking. A nagging inner voice is certain we will have need of them in the future, so we establish a mini-pharmacy in our home. While it seems prudent, there are a few pitfalls to be considered.

Are the drugs past their expiration date? Some drugs gradually lose their potency, while others actually deteriorate into harmful compounds over time. The home environment is not optimal for long term drug storage, particularly if medications are stored in the bathroom or kitchen. Outdated? Out it goes!

Have you kept a few antibiotics to be used in case you “come down with something”? The indiscriminate use of antibiotics contributes to an organism’s ability to develop resistance to treatment, and may also make it more difficult for your doctor to diagnose the cause of your illness. Additionally, repeated exposure to antibiotics increases the likelihood you may become allergic to them. If you have a stockpile of antibiotics, please pitch them!

People often stop by the pharmacy counter to ask if we can identify tablets or capsules that are no longer in a labeled container. Sometimes a labeled container is presented, for which a person wants to know why the drug was prescribed. If you don’t know what the medication is, or why it was prescribed; it no longer belongs in your home!

Do you have a collection of strong pain medications? Perhaps something that was prescribed after an injury, surgery, or treatment? Drugs of this type can cause serious complications and even death if taken improperly. These drugs may also be an attractive nuisance. Since they are coveted by addicts; pain medications are frequently pilfered from medicine cabinets to be consumed or sold on the street. Don’t be an unwitting illicit drug supplier; clean house!

Now, how can we safely dispose of unwanted drugs? Please do not flush them down the toilet or wash them down a sink drain. These items are not cleared by water treatment plants and will end up in the water supply! Ask your pharmacy if they have a drug disposal program. (Bend Pill Box Pharmacy has one!) Some restrictions apply; all drugs must be in original labeled containers. Loose tablets and capsules can be dispersed in refuse (i.e. kitty litter, used coffee grounds, etc) then sealed in a bag and placed in your trashcan.

By Pam Becker, R.Ph. –

Article Topic Follows: News

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