on 09 Mar 2020 in At Home

Old & Expired Medicines? Here’s How to Handle It!

Old Expired Medicines
What to do with Medicines You Don’t Use ~

You probably don’t think about your expired or unwanted household medicines a lot. They do their job of keeping you healthy, and then you stop taking them at some point. So, what happens to the medicines you don’t use? They sit in your medicine cabinet, sock drawer, or somewhere high on a shelf, tucked safely away from pets or others who may come into contact with them. Over time, they can become expired, or change in texture, color, or smell.

The FDA recommends not to use your medicine when its past the expiration date, as there is no guarantee that it will be effective, or even safe to take. So, if you have taken the medicine as directed, and you are told to keep them for future use, there are ways to ensure that they do not prematurely spoil before their expiration date:

  • Carefully consider where you store your medicine: Since heat, light, moisture, and air can potentially damage your medicine and make it less potent, you’ll want to keep it in a cool, dry, and dark area, like a dresser drawer or high on a closet shelf. To secure it, you can use a storage box that locks. Avoid placing medicine near a sink, stove, or other hot appliance, as these can affect its integrity.
  • Think twice about the type: Pills and capsules are especially vulnerable to heat and moisture. They can break down into their components, which can upset the stomach.
  • Remove the cotton ball: Cotton attracts more moisture into the bottle.
  • Keep bottles together: Always keep medicine in its original container so that it is properly identified. Also, keep the instructions for use with the medicine to avoid any potential confusion.

However, if you still find expired medicines that have changed in texture, color, or smell what do you do with them?

How to Dispose of Expired Medicines

Secure medicine disposal kiosks are located in all fifty states and allow patients to safely and anonymously dispose of their unwanted, unused, or expired household medicine. Use the Kiosk Locator to check if there is a secure medicine disposal kiosk near you. Here on the website, we list important information for each kiosk site so you can call to confirm its collection hours, and that it collects what you’d like to discard.

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