Stay Healthy: Tidy up your first aid kit to remove expired medicines
Spring is the best season to clean up your closets, kitchens, and garages, but don’t forget to add annual overhaul of medicine to your cleanup list.
“Medicines have an expiration date, just like food,” says Christina Aungst, PharmD, GoodRx Pharmacy Editor, based in the US. Jefferson, Massachusetts Fox News Digital said in an email.
“That’s why it’s a good idea to check your first aid kit regularly to make sure the medicines you have on hand are ready to use when you need them.”
Dr. Aungst recommends scheduling specific times each year for drug testing, such as during the spring cleaning season.
Get rid of unwanted or expired medicines by disposing of them properly
Any medicines that are no longer needed or that have expired should be set aside for disposal.
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“Expiration dates help consumers understand how long a drug is guaranteed to work properly and safely,” says Dr. Aungst explained.
“After this point, some drugs become more susceptible to bacterial infection and others lose their activity, which is especially dangerous if the medicine is intended to treat or prevent a serious disease.
For example, taking expired insulin can make it less effective and affect your health. blood sugarthe doctor warned.
Find suitable drug disposal sites near you
Dr. Aungst said the best way to get rid of expired or unwanted medications is to take them to a “medication place.”
“These places, usually located in pharmacies and hospitals, will safely destroy all medicines donated to them,” she explained.
“Just make sure you remove any identifying information from the medication label before you toss it.”
On the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website, you can find the nearest controlled substance public disposal site by entering your zip code or city/state.
Check the FDA’s “flash list”
Certain medicines, including those in high demand for “potential of abuse” or those potentially life-threatening to children, pets, or adults can be washed off to prevent accidental ingestion.
The FDA has published a complete list of flushed drugs – first containing opioids – on your website.
Search for drug collection centers
Some states have local drug storage programs that collect unused drugs and donate them to those in need.
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“It’s best to contact your state’s Pharmaceutical Board directly to find a store that accepts medications from individuals,” says the doctor. Aungst said.
“Many states will only accept donations from health organizations.”
Be careful with sharp objects and old inhalers.
It is important to take extra precautions when handling old “points” (needles used for injection) and inhalers. August
“Used needles and inhalers can be dangerous and should never be thrown into the bin unprotected or flushed down the toilet,” she said.
“Sharps disposal guidelines vary by state, but online resources can help you understand and follow your state’s regulations.”
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SafeNeedleDisposal.org has an online map with state-specific sharps disposal instructions, as well as a zip code search for disposal locations.
Some expired medicines may become contaminated or lose their effectiveness.
For inhalers Dr. Aungst said local recycling businesses can provide guidance on proper disposal. Some Walgreens also accept old inhalers.
Safely store what’s left
After you have finished removing unwanted or expired medications, be sure to store any remaining medications in a cool, dry place out of the reach of children or pets.
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“This helps prevent damage, which can shorten the shelf life of your medication and can prevent accidental ingestion,” the doctor said. August
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