National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, also known as National Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day, is coming up on Saturday, April 22!
Also, spring is here, which means it is time for some spring cleaning. And where better to start than your medicine cabinet?
National Prescription Drug Take Back Day gives the public an opportunity to prevent pill misuse and abuse by making it convenient to rid their homes of potentially dangerous expired medications, unused medications and unwanted medications.
Here is an easy guide to drug disposal in preparation of Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day.
- The one-year rule. Discard any prescription medications that are older than one year or expired. Medications may lose their efficacy after their expiration dates, and some may even be toxic. Remember to remove your personal information, including the Rx number, from the container as well.
- Throw away unmarked containers. If something cannot be identified or is not in its original container, throw it away. This includes prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs as well as ointments, supplements and vitamins.
- The smell, color or taste rule. Your senses are your first line of defense against expired medication. If it smells, looks or tastes off, discard it.
- Relocate your medicine cabinet. All medications should be stored in a cool and dry environment away from children. The humidity and temperature changes that occur in a bathroom from showers may lower the medication’s efficacy.
“It’s always important to get rid of unwanted, unused or expired medication, as there are many risks that could come from keeping them in your medicine cabinet,” Kevin DeGroot, DO, a primary care and family medicine physician at Mercy Health – Vermilion Primary Care, shares. “If you have medication you’d like to toss, you can bring them to a medication take back center in your community, or you can follow the FDA’s recommendations for safe disposal of medication.”
When it comes to getting rid of leftover medications, the following is suggested:
- Remove the medicine from its container and mix it with a substance that is undesirable. Used kitty litter and used coffee grounds are two good examples.
- Put the mixture in a sealable bag – one that will not break out or leak in a garbage bag.
- Don’t flush any unwanted medicine down the toilet unless it is on the FDA’s flush list.
- Utilize a drug take back program, like Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet Day on Saturday, April 22!
To find a take back location near you, visit the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)’s website. You can also visit the FDA’s website for more information about safely disposing of medications at home.
And finally, find a Mercy Health primary care provider near you.