When do you clean out your medicine cabinet? Of course, when it becomes too crowded with bottles and boxes to shut the door, you’ll start to think about a deep clean. However, at that point, many of your medicines may be expired or simply no longer needed. The following four indicators will help you recognize when it’s time to clean out your medicine cabinet.
Take inventory by collecting all household medicines and health supplies from your various storage locations (medicine cabinets, dresser drawers, closet shelves – wherever you are securely storing these products), laying everything out, and separating items into non-perishables (such as bandages), non-expired medicine that is still in use, unwanted/unused medicine that you no longer need, and expired medicine. The unwanted, unused, and expired medicines will need to be disposed of properly. You’ll also need to properly dispose of any unmarked medicines. If there is no expiration date, you should get rid of these one year after you purchased them.
Medicines can spoil, especially when kept in a medicine cabinet in a warm and wet environment. Open each bottle or box and inspect the medicine inside. If it is cracked or sticking to itself, has turned a different color, or exudes a different smell, set it aside for disposal. If you’re not sure, you can always ask your provider. If you’re finding that many of your medicines are spoiling before the expiration date indicated on their labels, you may want to re-think your storage location and consider keeping your medicines in a cool and dry spot, like a tall drawer out of reach of children, or a closet shelf with a lock box.
If so, these need to be disposed of right away, as they will no longer be effective.
Do the medicines not work for you? Consult with your doctor about how, when, and if to stop taking them. If you and your doctor agree that you don’t need them or they don’t help you, don’t keep them and dispose of them properly.
Once you’ve identified these unwanted, unused, and expired medicines, it’s time to dispose of them correctly.
Is It October or April?
If so, it may be time for one of the DEA’s biannual National Prescription Drug Take Back Days.
The DEA hosts and oversees these anonymous medicine disposal events at pharmacies, health clinics, churches, and law enforcement facilities so that people could bring their unwanted, unused, and expired household medicines somewhere safe, secure, and convenient. The next one is on April 25, 2020.
Use our easy Kiosk Site Locator to find a pharmacy, law enforcement facility, or other kiosk site close to you to safely and anonymously dispose of these medicines. Remember to safeguard your privacy by removing any identifying information from the products’ labels or packaging before disposal.
Now let’s get started: it’s time to clean out your medicine cabinet!
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