Spring is here and that means it’s time for a good old spring cleaning! While most people clean and tidy every room in their houses from top to bottom, they often forget to address the especially important area of the family medicine cabinet. Luckily, any time is a good time to clean out your medicine cabinet; and the arrival of spring is an excellent reminder from year to year! National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day occurs every year on the third Friday of April; but if you want to get a jump on it this year, taking care of this essential task as you do your home spring cleaning is an excellent time to review what medications you have and dispose of what you don’t need.
One of the most important parts of the spring cleaning process is to properly dispose of your old or leftover medications. Tidying and disposing of unused expired medications helps keep you organized and helps keep you and your family safe.
It’s important to consider the risks of keeping old or expired medications in your home. Accidental use of medications is a major risk. Further, when leftover medications are within easy reach, children could access them; young children could suffer harm from ingesting them and older children could misuse them. Having these drugs in your home is extremely unsafe.
Dispose of medications carefully. Take them to your doctor’s office or to a local pharmacy for responsible disposal. If you cannot do so, safe disposal of most drugs can be accomplished if necessary, by placing them in the garbage or by flushing them down the toilet, according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
To determine what drugs you need to remove from your medicine cabinet, follow these guidelines:
- Check the expiration dates of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, as well as nutritional supplements and creams/ointments.
- Discard all containers that are unmarked or that have missing/obscured labels.
- 3. Discard anything that has a changed smell or appearance.
Other recommendations to consider include:
- Never crush any tablets or capsules.
- Mark out all your personally identifying information on old prescription labels.
- Dispose of all drugs that are pharmaceutical controlled substances at authorized sites like pharmacies or police departments.
It should be an easy and relatively quick task to clean out your medicine cabinet. Most of the time it doesn’t take much longer than five to ten minutes to sort and dispose of your old medications. If you haven’t already, take the time to spring clean your medicine cabinet today!
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